Brutal Antichrist a Torture-Porn Nightmare

It's von Trier's masterpiece, or misogynistic tripe

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 23, 2009 8:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – Some critics call it a cinematic masterpiece, others say it's little more than a snuff film. But everyone agrees: Antichrist, the latest from Danish provocateur Lars von Trier, is unforgettable.

  • The film's scenes of brutal sex and violence are "undeniably shocking,"  writes Andrew O'Hehir of Salon, but Antichrist is loaded with "amazing ideas and images," plus two great performances from Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It's further proof that "von Trier is one of the most accomplished cinema artists of our time."

  • Claudia Puig of USA Today is far less impressed: "Antichrist is probably the most disturbing, bleak and self-indulgent film ever made." Its "ultra-explicit" depictions of self-mutilation and torture make it "a particularly misogynistic torture-porn film"—not a psychological horror movie but "an incoherent hodgepodge."
  • Ty Burr splits the difference in the Boston Globe: "Can profound art be made from profound misogyny? Yes, but here’s the catch: It doesn’t make the artist’s terror of women any less pathetic."

Danish film director Lars von Trier arrives for a film screening at the Cannes film festival in 2005.
Danish film director Lars von Trier arrives for a film screening at the Cannes film festival in 2005.   (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Charlotte Gainsbourg in a scene from Antichrist.
Charlotte Gainsbourg in a scene from Antichrist.   (AP Photo/IFC Films)
Willem Dafoe in a scene from Antichrist, directed by Lars von Trier.
Willem Dafoe in a scene from Antichrist, directed by Lars von Trier.   (AP Photo/IFC Films)
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The trailer for Antichrist, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg.   (MovieTrailersHD1)

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