|Gainsbourg and Skarsgard are in top form in von Trier's erotic epic.|
Directed by Lars von Trier
Produced by Louise Vesth
Written by Lars von Trier
Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Jamie Bell, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth and Udo Kier
Lars von Trier continues his controversial filmography with this new epic tale of sexual discovery and frustration. Joe (Gainsbourg) is found beaten up by Seligman (Skarsgard), who takes her in and listens to her story. What follows is a series of sexual exploits ranging from her youthful self (played by model Stacy Martin) to her most recent encounters.
If you can handle the graphic scenes, there is actually a compelling narrative going on here. Von Trier shocks again, but he also does a phenomenal job as a storyteller. While this is a story that might not need four hours (or the uncut five and a half hours) devoted to it, the film dares to keep going, revealing more about its characters and their dark pasts until the final gut-punch of an ending. The performances are, no doubt, one of the film's strongest elements. As older and younger Joe, Gainsbourg and Martin give fierce, dedicated performances, which von Trier's films always produce and upon which they depend. Skarsgard also delivers subdued, masterful work, and LaBeouf and Thurman, among others, are quite strong in their supporting roles. Von Trier's work can be taxing, yet this proves to be one of his finest outings.
Oscar Potential: None