Critic Consensus: Manderlay may work better as a political statement than as a film, making its points at the expense of telling a compelling story.
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as Grace's Father
as Mr. Robinsson
as Mr. Kirspe
as Old Wilma
as Dr. Hector
as Stanley Mays
as Truck Driver
as Mr. Miller
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Critic Reviews for Manderlay
Manderlay loses in power what it lacks in novelty, even though it's more relevant than anything the year is likely to bring.
Watching this film is an edifying but frustrating experience; dull in parts, amusing and illuminating in others. You'd still struggle to call it entertainment.
If von Trier can't be bothered to get out more, he should at least consider picking up a book or just using some real imagination.
Would like to stay awake, you'll have to choose a strategy. You can concentrate on the film's pretension, anti-American arrogance, incoherence, stilted writing or sheer stupidity.
Audience Reviews for Manderlay
Lars Von Trier repeats his famous and tedious Dogville formula. nevertheless, an interesting and thought-provoking microcosm.
The mid-point of Lars von Trier's 'American trilogy', Manderlay follows up Dogville in it's presentation of the hypocrisy of a fictional-but-it-most-certainly-could-be-real town in the good ol' US of A.
Rather than another case of snide back-stabbing in such backwater towns, Manderlay takes us (and Grace) to a small village in which slavery is still going ahead. Grace is quick to point out the error of everyone's ways here, even arguing her father's gangsters have more humanity, and her trust and optimism later prove to be here downfall.
The sets are once again less than minimal, mostly rooms are defined by chalk outlinesm with occiasonal 'real pieces', such as a donkey powering a well. Though still powerful cinema, by its very nature lacks the innovation of the first, and thus the impact.
Other flaws occur, such as Grace's recasting as Bryce Dallas Howard. Not that she gives a bad performance; she simply doesn't look like Kidman, nor does she have her screen prescence. Another issue is her sudden precociousness (at nights she lusts for a local 'black buck'), which seems implausible after her sexual torment in Dogville.
The third act is a belter, though, ably illustrating von Trier's true colours with some pitch-perfect, arguably por-slavery humanistic drama.
Imperfect, but powerful.
[font=Century Gothic]"Manderlay" takes place after the events in "Dogville". Grace(Bryce Dallas Howard, a vast improvement over Nicole Kidman), her mobster father(Willem Dafoe) and their gangster retinue make their way east to Alabama where they discover a plantation, Manderlay, where the slaves have not yet been freed, even though it is 1933. Freeing them is the easy part; ensuring their former masters do not take advantage of them is another matter completely. So, Grace takes half of her father's men including his legal advisor and sets to occupy Manderlay until full liberation has occurred.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Manderlay" is a better movie than "Dogville" and I found the plot very plausible. The film best serves as an allegory of the Second Gulf War and the ensuing occupation. Even the artifice of the sparse stage works better this time around. Lars von Trier again makes another critique of democracy but leaves his obsession of female martyrdom to Niki Caro.[/font]
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