Remember those kids in school who were always too smart for everything by their own standards? The ones who would make snide comments and shit on anything anyone liked? The ones who smoked clove cigarettes, listened to The Smiths and couldn't wait for the world to end?
Well, those kids grew up. And one of them made a movie. And it's about as good as you would expect it to be. By which I mean that it grossed about half of it's budget and leaves you happy you grew up and learned to function like an adult.
Fishing: You're doing it wrong.
"Melancholia" is a film about a young woman named Justine. Justine has crippling depression that goes untreated just enough for her to be completely (and I mean COMPLETELY) useless. She is aided by her sister, Claire, who is basically a walking panic attack herself. So right there you have yourself an upper of a movie, right?
After a wedding (which we will get to, BELIEVE YOU ME) that ends in some awkward departures, Justine and Claire and the cast of supporting normal people discover that a planet is on a crash course with Earth. BUM BUM BUM.
The rest of the film revolves around the core characters wringing their hands and looking pretty until the giant ball drops on humanity. But, much like every New Year's, you'll either be bored and drunk or asleep by the time it hits.
The movie is also divided into two segments, one following Justine and one following Claire. Part 1 revolves around the wedding, where everyone is rich, miserable and melodramatic. Cue Kirsten Dunst, fresh off "Spider-man 3." Yowza. She effectively plays a character you know nothing about in a way that makes you wonder if she was aware what her character's motivations even were. Or if she really had any.
And since no one (I'm looking at YOU, Von Trier...) takes the time to explain or build characters, we're left wondering what the hell is going on and why the hell we should care. It's simply a sad story about rich people not having things go their way. Nothing more. No mention of the plot or really anything that will pertain to the second part.
In that second and more movie-like part, you will quickly shed a tear for Kiefer Sutherland. He performs a well-rounded if one dimensional role as Claire's logical and scientific husband. He carries the plot of the movie in on his shoulders and, noticing no one willing to help move it to the other end of the movie, carries it nearly all the way home.
Let's get back to my previous swing at the people involved in this frowny face of a film. Director Lars Von Trier is the posterboy of pretentious film school kids. His previous work with "Antichrist" left me with two reactions. Firstly, Von Trier can pawn his need to shock audiences off as entertainment, but I know a self-obsessed punk when I see his "art." Secondly... gross, Lars. Just... gross.
Melancholia only fortified my opinion of the director. But some other amazingly egotistical things were learned. Von Trier directs and writes all of his movies, most likely because no one with talent will return his phone calls. I also discovered via IMDB that his motto is "Everything's going to hell, but we should smile all the way." Although he may have stolen that from a 14-year-old boy at Warped Tour. Who knows.
The extra content on "Melancholia" makes Von Trier ego issues even more obvious. What little interview material I could stand had the director boasting that he made sure that the science behind the movie was correct. Congrats, Lars. You did two days of work toward an associates degree in physics.
Overall, Lars Von Trier is and will always be an obnoxious pseudo-artist and his films, including "Melancholia," will go down as million dollar cries for help.