(Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany - 2018)
Written and directed by Lars von Trier. Cast: Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Sofie Grabol, Riley Keough, Jeremy Davies, Ed Speleers, Emil Thorstrup, Marijana Jankovic, Carina Skenhede, Rocco Day, Cohen Day, Osy Ikhile, Yu Ji-tae, David Bailie. (R, 151 mins)
When an ill-advised joke about "understanding" and "sympathizing with" Hitler understandably failed to land, professional provocateur and arthouse troll Lars von Trier was kicked out of the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 with his MELANCHOLIA in competition. His triumphant return to the festival earlier this year with the serial killer thriller THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT led to harumphing outrage and at least 100 walkouts. In other words, Mission Accomplished. IFC Films released von Trier's unrated, uncensored, 155-minute version for a one-night theatrical run in late November prior to the VOD rollout of the R-rated cut, shortened by four minutes. I don't really see why an edited version is necessary if it's mainly going to be seen on VOD anyway, and you can tell where the cuts are--the brutal murders of two children being a key point of repulsion at Cannes, along with one graphic scene of a woman's breasts being mutilated and sliced off. But even if you could see these few bits at full strength in the cut version, THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT isn't exactly the second coming of HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER. It is a tour-de-force for an all-in Matt Dillon as Jack, an odd, antisocial, obsessive-compulsive architect-turned-serial killer based in the rural outskirts of the Pacific Northwest, recounting five random murders over a 12-year period to an initially unseen man named Verge (Bruno Ganz). Verge scoffs at Jack's boasts and claims, sardonically taunting him with "Don't believe you're going to tell me something I haven't heard before." But by the end, Verge's snide dismissals and mocking tone will give way to legitimate horror and disgust, to the point where he finally deems Jack an "Antichrist."
|Von Trier and Dillon on the set