I went to the front lines of extreme cinema, and what I found wasn’t so extreme. Nymphomaniac, you’ve read all about it: Lars Von Trier’s latest in his oeuvre of pretentious art house explorations, this time with unsimulated sex. Because, hello, the movie is called Nymphomaniac. What he delivers isn’t so much shocking or sexy as it is bleak. Because sex addicts don’t really enjoy sex (we are told time and again by similar films, i.e. Shame) the audience is not allowed to enjoy it either. So we sit through a stream of banal sex scenes, that for all the press and promise, are not any more explicit or intense than the sex in your average PG-13 film. And we can’t even really sink into the bleak depravity because we are continually taken out of the story for the characters to explain the permeating metaphors about fucking fly fishing. Explanations seem to be truest examples of explicitness in the screen. It’s clear that von Trier is so terrified of his material that he has to legitimize it by calling attention to the intellect in the film, screaming to distinguish it from porn. If only he could realize, it would be more honest, more extreme, more “artistic” (all the things claimed and promised to us for over a year!), if he would just plunge into the pornographic. Maybe that’s what Volume 2 will deliver, but until then, the only thing von Trier brings to the table is some pubic hair.
Some spoilers, so you don’t have to lose $13.50 and three hours of your life:
– A kid covering the bathroom floor with water, hiking up her skirt and sliding around on it. Yep, tile masturbation is going to be the next big thing.
– An unsimulated blowjob on a train, delivered with all the sensuality of a blitzkrieg.
– Christian Slater’s juicy bubble butt…….. covered in diarrhea.
– Uma Thurman delivering a performance that ranges from tragic to hilarious to unhinged in approximately 7 minutes.
– The “not-famous” Shia LaBouf’s penis (or perhaps, a porn star penis CGI’d onto him, the reports have been contradictory) pink and poking past his thighs in a few brief shots.