After the loss of their son, a man and his wife try to work their way through the extreme grief of the wife. The man feels that she isn't treated the right way at the hospital, so he asks to get her back home, so that he, who's a therapist, can treat her himself. The couple goes to a secluded cabin out in the woods, at a place called Eden, where the wife has been spending time writing in the past. The further they get into the therapy, the more her grief seems like something much darker and deeper.
Lars Von Trier is a name you've heard plenty of times, over and over again, especially here in Sweden. His series "Riget" is probably what people mention the most, but you also hear people mention "Idioterne", "Dancer in the Dark" and such too. Personally, I know of him, I've seen some stuff, but I've never been a huge fan. He's a very respectable filmmaker and I'm not bad-mouthing him, so just keep calm. He has talent, he definitely has his own thing going. "Antichrist" has so far been the most appealing movie, to me, that he has done.
We follow a man, only known as He (played by Willem Dafoe), and his wife, only known as She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) as they struggle to get back to normal after the loss of their son. She is suffering from a very strong grief, and He is a therapist who thinks the doctors are doing a bad job treating her so he decides to take her home and give it a try himself, even though a therapist never should treat the people close to themselves. They first try to do it at home, but after finding out that the place she fears the most is a place in the woods called Eden, where she used to spend time writing her thesis on "Gynocide" (a term that refers to the killing/abuse of women), He decides to take her there to overcome her fears and grief. This is as far as I can take you into the story, because this is where it becomes a messed up story about nature, evil, religion and whatnot. It wouldn't be fair for me to review that part specifically for you, because I think everyone will get their own thing out of this film. It will be hard to understand all the symbolism, atleast on the first watch because you will be busy dealing with the darkness of the film. This film is honestly pitch-black and you won't be feeling any better as the film moves forward. Quite the opposite. And this is where Lars von Trier's filmmaking works so good. He has split the movie into different chapters. It starts off with the "Prologue", a black and white slow-motion scene where He and She are having sex, meanwhile their son is slowly walking out of his bed and towards an open window. This sets it all off, and it doesn't get prettier. Following chapters are; "Grief", "Pain", "Despair", "The Three Beggars" and finally "Epilogue".
What made me interested in checking out this film to begin with was all the talk of how disturbing it was, especially a scene towards the end that features mutilations. And I agree, it's a very harsh shot. Fuck it, the entire end is harsh. But even though this is violent, brutal and explicit, it's not what makes this movie work. However, not being afraid of showing sex and violence helps any film dealing with as dark themes as this one.
This review is setup so that you'll know about as much (or little) as I did before I watched it. I don't believe I am over-hyping it, and I'm certainly not telling gorehounds to watch it because it's so brutal, which many others seem to be doing. No, watch this film if you like art house films first, drama second, horror third and brutal violence forth. But yes, "Antichrist" was a good film and should please the fans of this website. Very beautiful, raw, dark and powerful. It is kinda slow though, so casual movie-goers beware.