The House That Jack Built

The House That Jack Built ★★★

“Nobody wants to help.”

An unnatural work of self-critique from the notorious provocateur. Like thin sheets of paper declaring hellish concepts. The acts of murder serving as metaphors, with Lars von Trier demonstrating his own body of work meanwhile questioning himself about the ridiculousness of his narcissistic transgressions. Conflicting voices stirring in a man’s mind, reveling in philosophical ramblings about heaven and hell, architecture and engineering, artistic merits and atrocities committed. The House That Jack Built is an accumulation of an artist’s crippling frustrations and how he cannot find a way out of his personal inferno. Tactlessness; blunt sadism in von Trier’s executions swings a jack right at your face, leaving you bleeding in agony for no reason. Come aboard a slow train that takes us through the human’s psyche, moving from many abhorrent killings to off-kilter hilarity, to self-indulging conversations to the blank-slated killer breaking down in fuming vexation, because his artwork did not go as planned. The lack of empathy in the protagonist, who is astonishingly played by Matt Dillon, left me wonder if I do actually care about him or von Trier. But when he does let go of what keeps him alive, I think I was moved?

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