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Lars von Trier (Europa, Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark) shook up the film world when he premiered ANTICHRIST at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. In this graphic psychodrama, a grief-stricken man and woman?a searing Willem Dafoe (Platoon, The Last Temptation of Christ) and Cannes best actress Charlotte Gainsbourg (Jane Eyre, 21 Grams)?retreat to a cabin deep in the woods after the accidental death of their infant son, only to find terror and violence at the hands of nature and, ultimately, each other. But this most confrontational work yet from one of contemporary cinema's most controversial artists is no mere provocation. It is a visually sublime, emotionally ravaging journey to the darkest corners of the possessed human mind; a disturbing battle of the sexes that pits rational psychology against age-old superstition; and a profoundly effective horror film.
Self-loathing, mean, ugly and perfectly made, "Antichrist" is probably the best film ever that you'd recommend to absolutely no one. This is modern high horror, no monsters needed beyond a grieving, nameless couple played by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg in wrenching, guts-out performances...This is modern high horror, no monsters needed beyond a grieving, nameless couple played by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg in wrenching, guts-out performances.Danish writer-director-provocateur Lars Trier ("Dogville," "Breaking the Waves") is as masterful a filmmaker as he is apparently a damaged soul. Yes, he gets a bit carried away with symbols and surreal images, and he leaves the viewer hanging in the film's final moment, but this is a European art film, after all. Make that a European art film with some of the most revolting footage ever shown -- self-mutilation, ingenious torture, panicked intercourse at every turn that itself becomes a form of brutality. Watching "Antichrist" is an exhausting, blood-draining, disturbing experience, but then that's precisely what it's supposed to be. It's easier to say this film is great than it is to call it good; indeed, if ever evil saturated the big screen, it is with this movie. Be careful of its fire; it burns.
Matt Pais, Chicago Tribune
It's really good! Now argue about it.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
A must-see. Some kind of maniacal masterwork.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
A powerfully made film... It's depths are frightening. Von trier has reached me and shaken me.