Sunday, December 11, 2011
Some artists suffer for their art. Lars van Trier makes you suffer.
Especially if you stayed awake through your high school science class. The one where you learned about the Roche limit. You remember ...
"The Roche limit is the distance within which a celestial body, held together only by its own gravity, will disintegrate due to a second celestial body's tidal forces exceeding the first body's gravitational self-attraction."
Lars von Trier, evidently, never heard of the Roche limit. In his latest movie, Earth falls into a giant rogue planet like a cream egg. A perfectly spherical cream egg. Earth doesn't blow up until it actually hits the rogue planet.
The name of the rogue planet? Melancholia.
Imagine the naming committee who came up with that one. The list would read like Depressonia, Downerus, Planet Bummer, Sadurn, Melancholia ... Yeah! Melancholia! Let's go with that one! It has a nice ring to it.
To make sure no element of suspense intrudes in his artistic vision, Lars von Triers shows Earth doing its giant cosmic SPLAT into Melancholia in the first five minutes of the movie.
For the rest of the movie, Kirsten Dunst is sad -- perhaps because they pulled the plug on "Spiderman 4."
I kid. She's not sad. She's depressed -- but that's just my diagnosis. Nobody actually USES the word "depressed" or "depression" in the movie. Or has ever heard of Zoloft or Xanax, for that matter.
Most of the, uh, action, takes place in a giant baronial castle owned by Kiefer Sutherland. Kirsten marries the Nordic vampire from "True Blood," then spends the rest of the movie moping. An hour or so later, the rogue planet appears.
We learn this indirectly. The giant baronial castle, evidently, doesn't have any radios or TVs. Internet access, yeah. But spotty.
Melancholia shows up. Then takes its own sweet time before destroying the Earth. It gets closer! It moves away! It gets closer again! Kirsten mopes, whips her horse, and refuses to take a bath.
By the time Metaphoria finally does destroy the Earth, I'm like those guys from Tool -- I'm praying for tidal waves, rooting for destruction. Dear God, let this movie END. It finally does.
All life is destroyed. You think that's something?
Wait'll you see the sequel.