by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Lars von Trier's Antichrist brings a new dimension to torture porn in that it is the first film from that genre with aspirations to artistic gravitas. As you might guess from that description, it is not going to be viewed as the feel-good popcorn hit of the year. Depending on whether you have seen one of the handful of films in history which are grimmer, you would probably find this to be the most profoundly painful movie-going experience of your lifetime. As an indication of how divided people are on this film, IMDb rates it a respectable 7.0, but the French critics at Cannes rated it a perfect 0.0 in their consensus. That's the lowest score, not the highest.


In a black-and-white prologue which resembles nothing so much as the morose, self-pitying art film Barney the Drunk made in an episode of The Simpsons, two people, known only as He and She, make love ferociously (complete with insertion shot), backed by an operatic aria. In the next room their toddler somehow makes his way out of his crib and to a window, where he falls several stories to his death.

The film switches to color.

At the child's funeral, She collapses and spends a month mostly unconscious in the hospital. When she wakes, She is crippled with grief. He, being a psychotherapist, sees absolutely no problem in trying to provide grief counseling for his wife. He first takes away her medicine and tells her to start dealing with grief with her head clear. They then spend a significant period of time having gloomy, despairing sex, whereupon he decides that the next course of treatment is for her to go with him to an isolated cabin in the woods, the place she most fears, so she can add terror to her grief, and where they can morbidly obsess over their grief non-stop 24/7, except when they are having sorrowful sex.

What could possibly go wrong?

As their stay in the cabin begins, they are beset with forbidding omens that convey the impression nature itself is against them - stillborn animals, for example, and the acorns falling from a nearby tree like gun fire on their windows. Instead of cheering up, she simply drops into a more profound depression.

Who could have guessed?

While searching the cabin for ways to deal with his wife's melancholy, He finds notes on misogyny, a topic she had been researching, in which her handwriting becomes more illegible as the pages go on. She, meanwhile, has now come to embrace misogyny, as justified by her new belief that women are inherently evil. In her case, at least, she may have a point. He finds pictures of their baby which indicate that the woman had abused the child. When he confronts her with the evidence, they end up having sex in the tool shed, but it turns out that she had just been using the intercourse as a ruse to gain control over him without his getting suspicious. As he lies back with his eyes closed, she grabs a nearby block of wood and crushes his genitals with it, which causes him to pass out in pain, a block of wood. She then masturbates him until he shoots out a fluid which is mostly blood, which squirts all over her her shirt and face. She then pulls down a toolbox, gets out a drill, makes a hole straight through his calf, bolts an enormous weight to his foot, and discards the tool he would need to unbolt the millstone. 

She leaves. He does wake up and eventually drags himself into a nearby foxhole, but a bird gives away his location. She finds him and begins to bury him alive. She gets about half of the job done and takes a break, but when she comes back she digs him up instead of finishing the job.

Then, in kind of a merry interlude, she does what I think any of us would do in her stead. She takes a pair of scissors and performs a clitoridectomy upon herself (shown in explicit-close-up), and curls up on the floor in agonizing pain. Eventually he figures out where she had hidden the necessary tool, gets the weight off his leg, and kills her ass by strangling her with his bare hands. He then ignites his stack of firewood and tosses her into the flames.

Back to black-and-white for the epilogue

He makes his way from the cabin to the top of a hill, from which he looks down to see hundreds of faceless women rushing up towards him.


Pretty cheerful stuff, eh kids?

Throughout the entire film, there's no comic relief or any other form of relief from the tension in their relationship. There are no relaxed or happy moments, no forms of distraction. In fact, there is no other character with a line. It's  a two-character play on film, and the drama is an unremitting angst-fest, spiced by torture porn. If that does happen to be your cup of tea, you'll be impressed. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg deliver the necessary courageous performances, and the cinematography has been guided by Anthony Dod Mantle, the guy who did Slum Dog Millionaire (Oscar), 28 Days Later, and The Last King of Scotland. That is major league talent, so the film looks impressive and the acting is convincing.

The rest is kind of up to you.


53 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)







7.0 IMDB summary (of 10)








No info available.







Pretty much everything you can think of - close ups of DaFoe's penis being masturbated, camera shots up Dafoe's butt, a close up of penetration, a close-up of Gainsbourg's privates, and shots which dwell on her furious masturbation.

(Exactly which body parts may be provided by doubles? I don't know)






Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


It is successful, even eloquent, at achieving its ambitions, but will appeal to a VERY tiny audience.