Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nymphomaniac Volume I

        The latest self indulgent therapy from writer/director Lars van trier.  It's a unique one of a kind film that can only come from the mind of Mr. van trier. Since it is Volume 1 of a two part story, it's not really fair to review it as a stand alone film. I'm sure  Mr. van trier's original vision was a single four hour film but for whatever the reason, Vol. 2 will be released in two weeks.

         What I can say it that there is plenty of sex and nudity (body doubles were used), odd moments of humor and a terrific cameo by Uma Thurman. The film stars Charlotte Gainsbourg  as "Joe" and Stellen Skarsgard as "Seligman". When Joe is found beaten and bruised in an ally by Seligman, he brings her to his apartment to recuperate after she refuses an ambulance. It is there that she begins to tell him of her life filled with one sexual encounter after another. Mr. Skarsgard takes everything quite seriously but still finds a way to project the intended (I hope) humor of the script. In Volume 1, Ms. Gainsbourg has little to do except to narrate her story.

           In flashbacks, Joe is played by Stacy Martin, a fearless young actress who is terrific in a difficult part. She loses her virginity to a terribly miscast Shia LaBeouf, who returns later in the film to only embarrass himself further with a bad accent and even worse acting. Another miscast actor is Christian Slater, who plays Joe's father. In an effort to play a serious "art" role, he literally leaves himself exposed in the worst way.

           Whatever Mr. van trier is thinking, I have to hold judgement until after seeing Volume 2 but equating sex to fly fishing in Volume 1 certainly maintains his standing as an original and visionary filmmaker. Love him or hate him, his work is always controversial but fascinating.

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