This movie seems to be more famous for some particular isolated scenes rather than as a whole movie.
Divided into 4 chapters, the film follows an unnamed couple (“He” played by Willem Defoe and “She” played by Charlotte Gainsbourg), as they go through a grieving process following the death of their son. “He” is a therapist and takes “She” on as his pet project and seeks to help her through the grieving process via a series of sessions that lead them to their isolated cabin in the woods called Eden. It does seem that the therapist is also seeking therapy from the sessions as “He” seems to revel in being the protector and the guide through the wide ranging emotions that “She” goes through.
If I told you anything more about the plot, I think it would most likely ruin it for you. And, as much of the plot is cleverly devised – much more so than other reviewers have given it credit for – it is the style and feel of the movie that really makes watching the film more of an experience. The film is beautifully shot throughout.
The opening prologue is made of up exquisite black and white, slow motion footage of the events that lead to the child’s death. The scenes in and around the cabin in Eden are full of lush green foliage and dark and twisted trees. It seems as though almost every shot in the movie is a composition in itself. Though, this is no pedestrian block footage of scenery. Instead, almost all of the scenes have something going on within them that make you uncomfortable. It is a dark film, with strong undercurrents of doom and dread that is evoked entirely by using varying lenses and a rumbling soundtrack to stop the audience from sitting back too comfortably.
So, when you do reach those dreaded scenes that have grabbed the headlines, they do not come from leftfield. These are not scenes of gore for the sake of a shock; these are the culmination or a step on the path of the journey that these characters are taking. Let us not forget that this is a horror movie. In comparison to other horror movies, the blood and gore count is minuscule, but what it does deliver in blood and gore really hits you. I don’t feel the movie pushes any major boundaries, as it is more of a continuation of a form of movie sex and violence seen in movies such as Base Moi and Irreversible. But, having said that, when you are in the theatre watching it, it does suck you in, chew you up and spit you out which is a sure fire sign that the sex and violence is well placed and used constructively within the confines of the story.
Once the movie ends, it will ensure that you have extremely in depth and revealing discussions with fellow Antichrist viewers. In a similar fashion to Memento and The Usual Suspects, you piece together the clues along the way that got you were you are at the end of the movie.
Watching the movie is an experience…shouldn’t all movies be like that?