Who wants to see a controversial and divisive horror film from a controversial and divisive director, with an A-list cast and a bushel of bloody moments?
Had to ask! This trailer is intense, and the movie has made some waves. Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman, Jeremy Davies and Riley Keough head up an all-star cast for the serial killer study The House That Jack Built. When this movie was unveiled this year at Cannes, it inspired two things: A walkout, and a standing ovation. One thing is for certain, this movie struck a nerve at its inception. The critics too are hugely divided on this film. Owen Gleiberman of Variety enjoyed it, in spite of its grim tidings. (Warning, Owen spoils a bit of the story) The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw calls the film Dreary and Nasty. The RT score reflects the critical divide, currently at a critic’s score of 52%, but an audience rating of 82%.
Matt Dillon plays Jack, an architect in the Pacific Northwest, who has been embarking on a decade-long killing spree, and we see from his perspective the art of the kill. Wait… what? That’s me! OK, I digress. I neither am as good looking as Matt, nor am I a psychopath… but I am an architect in Oregon IRL. Time to pick my jaw up off the ground. Here’s a shout-out to my Starchitects podcasting muse Roberta Pennington… it’s a horror movie about an architect in our area! (She does a podcast featuring architects talking smack about movies featuring architects… so there you go.
This is a film by Lars Von Trier, no stranger to controversy, himself. He is a provocateur of the first rank. He has tweaked people with a mocking sympathy for Adolph Hitler, and his films Nymphomaniac, and Dancer in the Dark. were both lauded and controversial, the first for the taboo subject material, and the latter for his star Björk’s accusation of sexual harassment of her on the set of Dancer. This much needs to be said… von Trier is an Artist (capital A). His films are complex, his scripts are dense and thoughtful, and his music is on point (Love the use of David Bowie’s “Fame” in the trailer.) He’s got a bit of Polanski to him, a little Peter Greenaway, a little Kubrick, and a little David Lynch. There is no doubt about his film craft.
But, can you separate the man from his art? Should you?
Beware, this movie will push some of the horror taboos. Child killing. Animal mutilation and cruelty. Torture. And the movie is 2 hours and 30 minutes long. Are you still intrigued? Well, there isn’t yet a wide release date yet, and my guess is that this will be a limited art house release that the big AMC and Regal chains won’t want to touch.
Is this a thrilling movie that perfectly captures the zeitgeist of our culture right now? Or is it a pretentious and sick nastygram? Is it both? Take a look-see for yourself!