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Dreamlike Melancholia beautiful, problematic

Lars von Trier's Cannes award-winner has its moments


A digital, slow motion apocalypse: a dreamlike juxtaposition of beauty and death, as a menacing planet swallows earth whole, to the music from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. This is the prelude to Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, a movie in two chapters for two sisters, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who look nothing alike and have irritatingly different accents. Part one is Justine’s disaster of a wedding reception at her brother-in-law’s (Keifer Sutherland) estate. In part two, Justine’s depression is crippling (von Trier purportedly modeled her after himself) and the sisters’ relationship is tense as the world ends. The shaky-cam could rival that of The Blair Witch Project at times, but while aesthetically captivating, Melancholia doesn’t quite gel--- Gainsbourg’s performance is excellent and Dunst has a commendable pout, but von Trier slacks on character development and the dialogue is inconsistent.

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Director: Lars von Trier

Writer: Lars von Trier

Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgård, Stellan Skarsgård, Brady Corbet and Udo Kier


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