Antichrist

2009

Antichrist

Critics Consensus

Gruesome, explicit and highly controversial; Lars Von Triers arthouse-horror, though beautifully shot, is no easy ride.

53%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 173

55%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 29,174
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Movie Info

A grieving couple retreat to 'Eden', their isolated cabin in the woods, where they hope to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.

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Critic Reviews for Antichrist

All Critics (173) | Top Critics (45)

  • Of course, von Trier wants us to react, to be repulsed, shocked, offended. Mission accomplished.

    Jan 29, 2010 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Von Trier, never exactly an optimist, has never been this gloomy and pessimistic. Antichrist is the feel-bad movie of the year.

    Dec 2, 2009 | Rating: 3/4
  • Yes, Antichrist is harrowing and often shrill, but the horrors all serve the underlying theme that, try as they might, men can never fully understand the inconsolable grief women endure when they lose a child.

    Nov 26, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Antichrist is a unique form of cruel and unusual punishment: an unrelenting orgy of graphic sex, violence and cynicism that also manages to be wildly pretentious.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: 1/5
  • Antichrist is a boldly personal film, tossing all von Trier's ideas about faith, fear, and human nature into an unfettered phantasmagoria, full of repulsive visions and fierce scorn.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Noel Murray

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Self-loathing, mean, ugly and perfectly made, Antichrist is probably the best film ever that you'd recommend to absolutely no one.

    Nov 13, 2009 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Antichrist

  • Jun 22, 2016
    Script deals with a couple trying to cope with the loss of a child. The only reason anyone would want to watch this one is for the shot of full sex penetration at the very beginning as Willem Dafoe is banging in the shower. Toward the end, Gainsbourg hits Dafoe with an object right in the junk and then jacks him off until blood comes out. She then walks around with no pants on and cuts off her own clitoris with scissors. Seriously, this one is just plain bad and should be avoided.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 27, 2015
    Lars von Trier is a talented and imaginative director. I find his films interesting, but never exactly "like" them. Antichrist is not so much horrifying as alternatively interesting and repugnant. The graphic bits feel out-of-place and in bad taste; it is as if the film is saying: "Now be horrified!" If the film is working psychologically, there is no need for that, and if it is not then inserting graphic elements do not exactly help. Cannot recommend the film to anyone. Horror fans will not find the film scary. Art-house fans will probably be put off.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • May 10, 2014
    For those who felt that Lars von Trier stood to show you more of Willem Dafoe in "Manderlay", fear not, for this film shows you more than you would care to see of Dafoe. Yes, I'm aware that Dafoe is working with doubles and prosthetics, but certain things portrayed in this film aren't exactly what you'd like to associate with people as weird-looking as Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, as surely as there are certain things portrayed here that aren't exactly what you'd like to associate with any poor sucker. I like how, with this film, von Trier says, "Forget it", and goes all-out with disturbing material, to the point of giving this film the title "Antichrist" and having it star someone who played Christ. Well, "The Last Temptation of Christ" was never what you'd look to for a comfortingly respectful portrayal of Jesus, so it appears to be Dafoe's thing to star in unsettling spiritual films. If nothing else, 2009 saw him get quite the obsession with showing up in films for the art crowd that featured foxes, which isn't to say that the families who saw "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" should rush out to see a fox eviscerate itself and growl out, "Chaos reigns!". Like I said, this film is messed up, and that isn't even the most disturbing thing here, although that might simply be because it's kind of cool seeing that effect reflect that von Trier can, in fact, work with a budget. There are plenty of disturbing effects being used to disturbing effect, but when it's all said and done, at least the film is good, even though certain visuals aren't the only unsettling things about it. Considering that this is a Lars von Trier film, it's easy to expect that it will be ethereal, but this is one of, if not von Trier's most ethereal efforts, and his thoughtfulness is so artistically realized that the final product generally proves to be adequately entertaining, or at least resonant enough to compensate for slowness, yet there are times in which von Trier's quiet intensity gets to be more dully dry than anything, often something fierce, and such moments seem to thrive on lapses in material for von Trier to draw upon with his thoughtfulness. Quite honestly, there are number of these lapses, for although the film runs a relatively mere 108 minutes, it drags to that point, its momentum retarded by a script by von Trier which goes bloated with filler, if anything at all, until the minimalist drama slips into aimlessness that makes the cold spells all the blander, until punctuated with a touch too much intensity. The film is unrated, and you'd be very much justified in expressing concern that the filmmakers simply didn't bother securing an opinion from the MPAA, as this is pretty decidedly an NC-17 film that breaks boundaries and goes as far as it can with its content, and not just sexual, incorporating several deeply disturbing visuals that are often treated with enough thematic taste to be effective, and just as often gratuitous contradictions of taste that momentarily render the drama too trashy to be artistic, or even resonant. Of course, when the film isn't trying too hard to disturb, it's trying too hard to resonate, because in addition to possibly being von Trier's most ethereal film, the drama is possibly von Trier's most bleak film, which is saying a lot, thus rendering the final product consistently and perhaps punishingly hopeless, in a manner that is handled well enough to compel pretty thoroughly, but is often too challenging to be effective, at least when the drama loses substance to feed genuine resonance. I've already said that the film is a highly ethereal drama, but the artistic license taken to storytelling by no means expires there, as von Trier is very experimental in the way he meditatively tells this tale, and while such experimentation is generally comfortable, there are times in which von Trier becomes more focused on thematic visuals over genuine human characterization that perhaps could have sold the themes of the film better. Von Trier tries so hard and does so well in so many ways, crafting a biting art film that could have lost its resonance and purpose in the midst of artistic ambition, which still has a tendency to rear its ugly head into things time and again, backed by questionable pacing and visuals that threaten the reward value of the final product. Of course, at the end of the day, the film is realized enough in its sometimes problematic artistry to grip as a bitingly bleak drama and haunting celebration of modern technical artistry. The film is graphic and bleak, but make no mistake at all, it is beautiful, and for that, a lot of credit is due to Anthony Dod Mantle, whose cinematography is subtly, but surely, breathtaking, with a crisp definition backing a deep emphasis on subtle lighting wrapped in heavy shadows, a formula which makes the darker visuals gritty in a way that is handsomely fitting for a bleak atmosphere, while making the slightly lighter visuals dreamy. There's a lot of solid technical value to this film, but it's at its most realized with the cinematography, whose beauty has to be seen in order to be believed as aesthetically remarkable by its own right, as well as complimentary to substance that wouldn't thrive on style so thoroughly without inspiration on Lars von Trier's part. I've said it time and again, but von Trier delivers a directorial performance that is as stylized and ethereal as ever with this film, and were he to lose his grip, the whole final product would have collapsed as misguided, although that's not what happens, because even though von Trier does, in fact, get carried away with his artistic license, to the point of threatening entertainment value and a sense of substance, lyrical artistry is milked for all its worth by plays on trippy visuals and sounds that immerse as near-psychedelically haunting, while plays on Kristian Eidnes Andersen's interestingly avant-garde score, if not the piercing sound of silence itself, prove to be emotionally penetrating. More often than not, the film is captivating as dark art, biting as a thriller, resonant as a drama, and altogether genuinely original, and it wouldn't be all of this if it wasn't for von Trier continuing to showcase an imperfect, but generally solid grip on artistic directorial storytelling that is effective enough to compel pretty thoroughly, though not without the help of worthy material to work with. The film's subject matter, alone, is challenging, and it's not as though it's all that dynamic, but the film wouldn't compel through all of its questionable elements if the story concept wasn't meaty on the whole, backing a brutal psycho-drama narrative with thought-provoking themes on natural evils within humans and even nature itself, and being brought to life by a script by von Trier that, while uneven in its pace and style, has a subtlety to many of its set pieces that is intriguing, and a subtlety to its characterization that overcomes potential underdevelopment in order to craft leads who are thematically worthy and intriguing by their own right. Of course, in all fairness, the human elements of this drama are best solid by the lead performers, because as much as I praise von Trier for his efforts, the most consistently strong element of this film is the acting, with Willem Dafoe being convincing as an intellectual who struggles to conceal emotions that eventually come into play in the form of sheer, overwhelming fear, while Charlotte Gainsbourg, through an audacious dramatic range and disturbed presence, sells a woman's gradual collapse from emotional instability to mental instability. The film is very intimate with its leads, therefore Dafoe and Gainsbourg deliver as major driving forces for this drama, but they don't compel alone, as von Trier's offscreen performance is itself effective enough to compel with artistic and dramatic resonance that endears through all of the challenges as rewarding. When the horror is lifted, reward value finds itself threatened by moments of dull dryness and repetitious dragging, as well as by some overt disturbances, bleakness and placement of style over substance, but ultimately secured by the captivating visual style, artistically and dramatically haunting directorial style, intriguing subject matter, subtle writing, and powerful acting - courtesy of Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg - that make Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" chilling, thought-provoking and altogether gripping as a triumph in dark artistic filmmaking and a worthy challenge in bleak dramatic storytelling. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Feb 25, 2014
    Lars Von Trier is a unique filmmaker that has a style that I would describe as eccentric, haunting, yet somewhat beautiful. With Antichrist he crafts a film that is horrifying and unforgettable. The cast here is impeccable and Trier's choices are terrific. Willem Dafoe and actress Charlotte Gainsberg deliver great performances here, and the story itself takes its time to unfold, with steady pacing, which is key in telling an effective story. Antichrist may not be a film for everyone, but those who enjoy Art films; well this is a film worth seeing. Antichrist is a tense, horror film with the art house flair, and Lars Von Trier delivers an unflinching. Raw in your face picture that has a powerful sense of visuals. Trier always seems to go for an unsettling way in telling a story, and he more than accomplishes that with this horror drama. Considering that Antichrist comprises of such a minimal cast of actors, I founds the film to be accomplished piece of cinema. If you have varied taste in cinema, then Antichrist might suit your palette. The content expressed on film is disturbing, and unforgettable, but that's what makes it resonate with the viewer. Antichrist seeks to disturb and succeeds in doing so. The film has its flaws, but as a piece of horror filmmaking it does succeed at capturing genre elements through Trier's camera lens. Overall this is a film that will appeal to genre fans, and it is well executed and quite tense throughout and like I've said before, due to its horrifying visuals, Antichrist is a film that you won't forget.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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