Sunday, 23 February 2014

Nymphomaniac, A Review of Sorts.

Well, I went and sat through the five hours of back-to-back screenings of Lars von Trier's tormented ejaculation last night. From the oblique musical nod to Funny Games at the beginning, to the wonderful auditory shorthand of the ending, this film plays every trick with the weariness of a carcinogenic card-sharp suffering from delerium tremens. That's enough film-critic parody. A few brief notes.

Audience demographic. Male. Age-range, evenly spread. Over-representation of hipster-beards. Female. An inverted bell-curve. Many students, all curls and bobbly scarves, and some wise old birds, elegant in their understated attire.

Humour. It is a very funny film, but that depends on your sense of humour. It was often hard to tell if the humour was unintentional - it being LvT, I found myself generous enough to give him the benefit of the doubt. Self-parody is taken to new heights or depths.

Sex and filfth. There was nothing I hadn't done and had done to me, therefore there was nothing that widened my eyes. I may be broad-minded, or perhaps I'm a disgusting pervert, or just honest, but I would imagine one would have had to have led a very sheltered life to find the sexual content challenging or shocking.

Shock. Two scenes did punch me. They didn't involve sex. (In fact, boringly, they were mindlessly referential, but worked brilliantly.) The first made me speak out loud, involuntarily: "O Christ, Lars, not again." to general sympathy in my neighbouring rows of the auditorium. (It was a fair bet most of the audience had seen all of LvT's previous films.)

Positives. I was first to the bar in the 15 minute interval. Stacy Martin's arse. The audience.

Negatives. Charlotte Gainsbourg's voice and enunciation. Great performance, body-doubles and all, but a voice-double would have been better.

To sum up. Any LvT film is worth it because he is a consummate piss-taking anti-nihilist with no answers. No matter how he postures under his cloud of bitter, twisted, despairing bile, the gleam of an innocent childlike hope beams through. Don't go to see this film if you lack empathy or a sense of humour.

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