I am not sure why Antichrist has been so vilified by the press. It is self-indulgent, sometimes painfully mannered and often a little tedious but certainly no more so than Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York. The Kaufman managed to make two hours seem like four, at least Laughing Lars kept a lid on the length of his self-pity.
At the screenings I was at at least three people walked out of each; at S,NY a disgruntled punter glared at the screen and virtually shook his fist at it "Shit, utter shit" he said (concise and to the point I thought); at Antichrist a group of three people left without comment after half an hour, perhaps if the much ballyhooed genital mutilation scene had been earlier in the film more might have gone but as it occurs so late in the day there is not much point storming out then.
In any event Antichrist is a very silly film – there is the tremendous section where Dafoe is attempting to escape from Gainsbourg after she has bolted a grindstone to his leg and he has turned into some kind of outcast from Chorlton and the Wheelies. As she screams "Where are you you bastard" over and over, Dafoe is in a foxhole and attempting to kill a crazy crow in a slapstick horror scene like he had fallen right into the Evil Dead. Oh yes, and then there is the talking fox. If only Basil Brush had had a catchphrase like "Chaos Reigns" what would Mr Roy have done then?
The fox, the crow and a goat then reappear at the end as The Three Beggars, with their gold chains around their necks they look like a farmyard Beastie Boys. I am hoping for a Three Beggars spin-off film, or at least an album or maybe Lars would like to revive the now dire Basil Brush show and restore it to its 1970s glory. Come on Lars, Where are you, you bastard? Boom, Boom!
Kirk Lake is a writer, musician and filmmaker. His published books include Mickey The Mimic (2015) and The Last Night of the Leamington Licker (2018). His films include the feature films Piercing Brightness (2014) and The World We Knew (2020) and a number of award winning shorts.
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