Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac: Vol. I”

stacy-martin-nymphomaniac-part-1

three-stars15

Lars von Trier is a director that is seemingly constantly pushing audiences into feeling as uncomfortable as possible. So, when I got the chance to check out his newest film I jumped at it. I figured if nothing else it will be like nothing I’ve ever seen before. On that front I was disappointed, but as a whole the film is quite enjoyable.

When you go see a film called Nymphomaniac by a director who notoriously shows plenty of on screen sex and violence you expect it to be taken to a whole new level. I was pleasantly surprised  to find that the sex scenes were not horribly graphic and awkward but also mostly short and humorous.  I found myself laughing during most parts of the film. even with the film’s dark subject matter, I never felt it was being too serious.  Part of this is due to the fact that the main character is not very well-rounded, and our glimpses into her life tend to just be the highlights (or lowlights). We don’t really feel connected to her as a human. If we did, the story would be much more of a tragedy and I have a sneaking suspicion that Part II will quickly descend into this very dark place.

Another thing that helps keep us removed from the main character, for better or worse, is the editing of the film. Split screens, graphic overlays, and plenty of other little novelties pop up through the course of the film. Long gone are the Dogma 95 days. This film feels very modern and occasionally a tad over produced.

I would say the weakest point of the film is the constant need for the main characters to relate everything they are talking about to something the other knows. Comparing sex addiction to fly fishing and the composition of Bach’s musical pieces just seems like a bit of a stretch to me. I rolled my eyes more times than I would have liked at the dialogue between the two leads. However, after I got used to it, it became a fun little game to see what absurd link they would think of next.

Taking all of that into consideration there were still some really brilliant moments in the film. Those great moments where you forget you’re in a theater and you are just overjoyed, eagerly waiting just to see what happens next. When you make a whole film out of those moments you have a masterpiece.  When you have a handful of them spread out over two hours you have a solid and entertaining film. I’m ready for part two, I feel like it’s going to be quite a different experience.

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