Author Topic: The House That Jack Built  (Read 1674 times)

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The House That Jack Built
« on: December 18, 2018, 01:36:08 AM »
Two and a half hours and fuck me it felt it, Lars von Trier's latest exploration of his own anus is...  actually alright.  A portmanteau, sort of, involving five incidents the protagonist wants to talk about while on a journey.  The journey he's on is obvious from the start, as is the identity of his guide, but the ending seems to be designed as a revelation.  LVT always thinks he's blowing our minds, when we've been a few steps ahead of him the whole way.

It feels very much like his final statement, although I've not heard anything about him quitting the film industry.  If it isn't his exit then I've no idea what the point of it was.

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2018, 02:04:38 AM »
It felt like he very much wanted it to be significant. To the point where he even drops his previous work into it...although something missing perhaps. But then his films are always intelligent exercises that never seem to have a real soul. The violence in this one really was designed to upset, and that's the shock merchant we've come to expect.

How does the timeline of the production intersect with Bjork's accusations?

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2018, 03:18:10 AM »
Lars von Trier?

More like up his own arse

von Trier

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2018, 03:18:37 AM »
The Shit Film That Lars Made

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2018, 07:30:22 AM »
The only von trier film I’ve ever really enjoyed was that Nicole Kidman one - very good was that - this sounds like shock jock crap though

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Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2018, 11:41:18 PM »
The only von trier film I’ve ever really enjoyed was that Nicole Kidman one - very good was that - this sounds like shock jock crap though

Same, but I thought Antichrist was okay but a bit juvenile in 'pushing the envelope'.

This one is far more restrained than it might sound, because a serial killer film by him really doesn't sound appealing.  It's less graphic than your average 15 rated slasher film really, although it has its moments.  I'm almost disappointed that it isn't 'extreme', because then I could just dismiss it as him being a tosser again.  I'm not happy with one of his films being far too long but basically okay, and I doubt he would be either.

zomgmouse

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Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2018, 12:01:09 AM »
I loved this. Lars von Trier is very good at making us want him to fuck off. Matt Dillon was a revelation. All the philosophising I read as deliberate bullshit and enjoyed all the more for it. There was some really funny stuff and some real horrid shit. All feeding off each other. Delicious. Go fuck yourself Lars. I suppose your appreciation of this comes down to how much you appreciate being quite specifically poked in the ribs with a knowing smirk for 2.5 hours. Personally that's my jam particularly because I'm a fan of filmmakers who know exactly what they're doing and do it. I felt similarly about Noé's latest film. But it doesn't really feel like it's being provocative in a dull "boo hoo PC culture" sort of way, it's just testing you as a human in general. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

This film is very definitely evil.

Also the end credits song choice was stellar. Fuck's sake.

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2018, 09:01:13 PM »
I loved this. Lars von Trier is very good at making us want him to fuck off. Matt Dillon was a revelation. All the philosophising I read as deliberate bullshit and enjoyed all the more for it. There was some really funny stuff and some real horrid shit. All feeding off each other. Delicious. Go fuck yourself Lars. I suppose your appreciation of this comes down to how much you appreciate being quite specifically poked in the ribs with a knowing smirk for 2.5 hours. Personally that's my jam particularly because I'm a fan of filmmakers who know exactly what they're doing and do it. I felt similarly about Noé's latest film. But it doesn't really feel like it's being provocative in a dull "boo hoo PC culture" sort of way, it's just testing you as a human in general. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

This film is very definitely evil.

Also the end credits song choice was stellar. Fuck's sake.


I would agree with all of that. It was very difficult extremely arduous to watch in certain bits. I found myself being quite upset and not quite sure i wanted to continue but i did and was ultimately glad of it. Lars Von Trier manages to make you feel somewhat complicit in the act by being a viewer  Really explored the utter darkness of a psychopathic killer's mind.
The last 20 minutes were sublime.

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 10:16:12 AM »
I liked it.

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Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2019, 10:41:29 AM »
I found this quite enjoyable, although Trier has almost become like Tarantino for me in as much as I play a kind of mental game of Bingo to see if they include all their usual tropes. It does not have the masterly touch of his previous three films, but it still has much to like and plenty to giggle at. In some ways it is more similar to Man Bites Dog than anything else I can think of at the moment. My big issue with the film was simply the casting. This would have been perfect for Defoe and I feel that was a missed opportunity. Dillon is a wonderful actor, but here I got distracted by his shitty bullshitting which he played EXACTLY like the character he played in There's Something About Mary. I'm relieved this didn't seem to distract anyone else, but for me it was a problem. Also, I find serial killers' philosophising really quite boring.

The final scenes are really great - mixing those typical handheld digital camera shots with baroque, super-slowed down vignettes. But I felt let-down by its broad ending.

So, is this just about Trier and his Mum?

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Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 04:09:43 PM »
woah that ending was incredible!

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Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2019, 05:05:37 PM »
I've seen the ending on the 'tube, and the hard cut to the end credits and inappropriate music made me laugh.

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Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2019, 06:26:35 PM »
If any film is one big fucking sweaty wank in the viewer's face, this is it. It's nicely shot and Dillon is excellent but my god, it annoyed the piss out of me. I AM GOING TO PROVOKE YOU NOW, I AM A GENIUS, GET USED TO IT. Smug, self-serving bollocks from a very boring man.

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Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2019, 10:53:52 AM »
I though Antichrist was contemptible horseshit and was ready to write off Von Trier for good, but everything he’s done since I’ve really enjoyed, including this. Definitely his funniest film, although he’s a bit late to the party, 20-odd years after Man Bites Dog, Funny Games, American Psycho etc. It wasn’t as gruesome as I’d been led to expect, I can’t imagine what has been cut out for the American R-rated version; the boobies being chopped off?

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2019, 05:19:59 PM »
Ah, here's the thread!

I just finished watching this and wanted to comment on it, but I think this sums up my feelings perfectly

Lars von Trier is very good at making us want him to fuck off. Matt Dillon was a revelation. All the philosophising I read as deliberate bullshit and enjoyed all the more for it. There was some really funny stuff and some real horrid shit. All feeding off each other. Delicious. Go fuck yourself Lars. I suppose your appreciation of this comes down to how much you appreciate being quite specifically poked in the ribs with a knowing smirk for 2.5 hours.

This film is very definitely evil.

Also the end credits song choice was stellar. Fuck's sake.

Sorry if that seems redundant, quoting zomgmouse who's much better at articulating things about films than I am, but anyway. I liked this more than most of Von Trier's post-90s output. I remember liking Melancholia quite a lot but I think that's about it.

This film is heavy-handed, piss-taking, beautifully acted and really repulsive, and not just in a gory way, but also in a self-indulgent, "I am lars von trier and I am an ARTIST and also this explains why I said I liked the nazis that time in cannes, so suck it you guys" but I really liked the end journey through the depts of hell, probably because for whatever reason I've been thinking a lot lately about concepts of hell so it resonated with me.

It takes a lot to make me pause a film and walk away because I'm finding it too upsetting, but the scene where it becomes clear that he's going to (cut off Simple's breasts) was a bit too much for me. A mean nasty little film that I'll never watch again but I can't say that it didn't provoke reactions and thoughts from me which is what I suppose LVT wants.

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2019, 05:29:16 PM »
The problem for me that ‘provoking reactions’ is pretty thin soup for a reason to exist.

I was watching this - I’ve gone to bat for LVT in the past but I thought this was absolutely wretched-and I got to the scene where he’s torturing Riley Keough ahead of mutilating her and I just thought ‘why the fuck am I sticking with this horrible juvenile shit?’ At that point it’s effectively no different from the worst kind of misogynist exploitation garbage-in fact it’s arguably worse for its wafer-thin statements about art, most of which would look embarrassing in an undergrad essay.

I’d felt that with LVT’s films in the past there was at least some underlying philosophy or reason to keep watching, but in terms of style, structure etc this felt dead as a doornail to me. It’s just so.....basic. The idea that the film’s value somehow derived from its trolliness is vaguely interesting up to a point (that point being before a film is actually made), but at the end of the day there are Varda’s/Bergmans/Dreyers I haven’t seen yet, you know?

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Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2019, 09:24:22 AM »
wafer-thin statements about art

I feel like these are deliberately wafer-thin, in the sense of von Trier deliberately putting in a load of superficial trite observations that someone like Dillon's character would take to be profound and many other people would in turn take to be profound but which von Trier knows are nothing short of empty bullshit. But I could be wrong.

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2019, 10:37:43 AM »
Exactly, it’s a bit like saying Patrick Bateman has bland taste in music.

I think Selligman’s allegorical philosophizing in Nymphomaniac is designed to be equally banal and/or pretentious.  Kiefer Sutherland in Melancholia and Paul Bettany in Dogville, too.  All of them eventually show themselves incapable of living up to their lofty opinions of themselves. 

It’s a character Von Trier is fond of using, but they’re not necessarily supposed to be agreed with or admired, and I think Jack is no different.  His rambling pontificating about the beauty and “artistic process” of death is often undermined by the crudity and even total bungling of his murders, not dissimilarly to Ben in Man Bites Dog.

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2019, 11:42:30 AM »
Agree, watching the film and thinking about how naive and easily overpowered the victims are, plus all the cod deep bollocks about art and suffering, you've got to remember who's narrating the story.

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2019, 02:38:25 PM »
So what do we take away at the end of 2.5 hours, other than 'he was a horrible murdering prick with bad philosophy'?

If LVT knows these insights are bullshit, why is the entire film built around indulging them in loving detail?

It's fine to have a film which features a character with a kind of terminal narcissistic philosophy, but this has to be enacted in dialogue with some other system in order to avoid colonising the film itself.

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2019, 09:32:41 PM »
It's fine to have a film which features a character with a kind of terminal narcissistic philosophy, but this has to be enacted in dialogue with some other system in order to avoid colonising the film itself.

Isn’t it quite literally enacted in his ongoing dialogue with Virgil?

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2019, 07:55:19 AM »
Well in the vaguest and most perfunctory way, yes. I’m thinking more of directors like Nuri Bilge Ceylan who actually attempt to triangulate ideas through dialogue. This is so cursory it might as well not be there. ‘I’m an artist’. ‘Oh Jack’.

What I’m trying to articulate here is how the communities in LVT’s films have steadily eroded to this point of monologic boredom. The drop off in writing from, say, Dogville or Melancholia is alarming. This just feels like listening to a rambling drunk at the bar.

Re: The House That Jack Built
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2019, 12:10:19 PM »
Fair enough.  I quite like that, though, and often find it funny, especially contrasted with Virgil's increasingly weary responses - as I think he mentions at one point, he's listened to a lot of this in his time.

Aside from all that, I thought it was formally impressive and there were some very well-constructed set-pieces which didn't overstay their welcome.  It's a bit like an Amicus anthology movie, in some ways.  Some properly horrific imagery too.