This is the kind of film where I can tell that the director has a lot to say. Lars Von Trier has a way of communicating themes that's very unconventional. He uses graphic and explicit content in a way that immerses the audience, but doesn't sacrifice the integrity of the narrative. This film also has a visual grace about it that's oddly beautiful even though what he's showing us is horrific and disturbing. The prologue for this film is one of the most impressively shot sequences I've ever seen.
Another very impressive aspect of the film was the performances. There's only two to speak of, but they totally blew me away. Wilem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are acting titans. They took so many risks and were so vulnerable, especially Gainsbourg. She put herself out there in a way I haven't seen in a long time, and I think that helped me to track with her when she went to those dark places in the last act.
This film was disturbing, ambitious, nasty, chaotic, compelling, dark, nightmarish, and, overall, extremely brilliant. One of the most haunting and original films I've ever seen!
That was one of the first reviews I have ever written on Rotten Tomatoes. I rated it a 0.5/5 stars. When I typed that review, I was fairly new to the world of art house cinema, scrolling through Netflix's selection of films I had never heard of to find something new and different. After viewing "Antichrist," I felt sick. I just couldn't understand why the film needed to be so gruesome. Upon reexamining the film recently (several years and a greater knowledge regarding artistic cinema later), I realized that I didn't fully understand the film the first time. Having seen it with fresh eyes, Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" is a flawless work of artistic brilliance. It's rich in symbolism, features a disturbing performance from Charlotte Gainsbourg, and the cinematography is stunning. It may be hard to stomach, but "Antichrist" is a masterpiece and I hate it.