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Review: Dancer in the Dark

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
This one has been discussed before, but any mentions of it are off in the archives now. So, for anyone who hasn't heard of it, a quick revival.

My review: Put down some plastic on the couch, and watch this film. Leave about an hour set aside afterwards to just sit there and cry.

This is one of the most brutally emotional films I've ever seen, and I've generally gone out of my way to watch a lot of brutally emotional movies. I'd heard people say before that it was intense, but like a heavy drinker who laughs at other people's drinking stories I didn't pay much attention. Now I feel like I've been run over by a truck (in a good way.) It's one of those movies that really resets your self pity index, and you realize that your life is a light comedy compared to real suffering.

And whooday thunk it? Bjork just completely ripping your heart out as an actor. Next thing you know it'll be Adam Sandler... oh wait, that already happened as well.
post #2 of 12
Agree!! A very powerful film.

BREAKING THE WAVES is another one that, for me, has a similar, but different, impact.
post #3 of 12
Dancer In The Dark is a really good movie. Bjork gives a very emotional performance.

My wife says that she likes this movie so much that she CAN'T watch it. Seriously.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
It's also interesting how they filmed it. They literally used 100 digital cameras. They would put cameras everywhere around the scene so that they could get every performance from many angles and mix and match as desired, plus a couple film cameras for the closer shots. It backfired on them a couple times, and you can see where they were forced to use two different takes with some continuity issues. But given that you'll be dabbing your eyes all the time, you might not notice them.
post #5 of 12
I love Bjork. I love Dancer. I can't watch it.
post #6 of 12
Not just to be the voice of dissent here, but I despise this movie. The "tragedy" is entirely contrived by the main character being written to do things that don't make sense, for the sole purpose of stacking the deck against her.

Much has been written about how much Von Trier hates America and keeps making movies about what a horrid cultural cesspool the country is, but frankly that isn't what bothers me. I'm more bothered by how much contempt he has for his characters and for his audience.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
I couldn't imagine a more sympathetic character than Bjork's in this movie, so I can't see how he could have been contemptuous of her? There was only one 'bad guy' in this movie and even his motives make it easy to sympathize with his situation.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Not just to be the voice of dissent here, but I despise this movie. The "tragedy" is entirely contrived by the main character being written to do things that don't make sense, for the sole purpose of stacking the deck against her.

Much has been written about how much Von Trier hates America and keeps making movies about what a horrid cultural cesspool the country is, but frankly that isn't what bothers me. I'm more bothered by how much contempt he has for his characters and for his audience.

Memo: Movies aren't real.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Not just to be the voice of dissent here, but I despise this movie. The "tragedy" is entirely contrived by the main character being written to do things that don't make sense, for the sole purpose of stacking the deck against her.

Because Dancer in the Dark is, like, a melodrama.

You must hate Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind then.

From wikipedia...

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The plot revolves around self-destructive dipso-nymphomaniac Marylee and her insecure alcoholic brother Kyle, the scions of Texas oil baron Jasper Hadley. Spoiled rotten by their inherited wealth and crippled by their personal demons, neither is capable of maintaining a successful personal relationship.

Problems ensue when Kyle's impulsive marriage to New York City executive secretary Lucy Moore begins to crumble and his childhood friend and Marylee's long-time target, Hadley Oil geologist Mitch Wayne, becomes involved in their problems.

Kyle, diagnosed with a low sperm count, physically lashes out at Lucy when she announces she is pregnant, since he assumes the child was sired by Mitch, who orders Kyle out of the house. Lucy's fall results in a miscarriage, and Mitch promises to leave town with her as soon as she's well enough to travel. A drunken Kyle, armed with a pistol, returns and, when he aims his gun at Mitch, Marylee struggles with him for the weapon. It accidentally fires, killing her brother.

Repeatedly spurned by the man she loves, a spiteful Marylee threatens to implicate Mitch in Kyle's death. At the inquest, she first testifies he killed her sibling, then tearfully redeems herself by admitting the truth. Mitch and Lucy depart, leaving Marylee to mourn the death of her brother and the loss of her one true love.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grubert View Post

Because Dancer in the Dark is, like, a melodrama.

You must hate Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind then.

It's one thing to write a flawed character who makes bad decisions because it's her nature to do so, but that isn't the case here. Bjork's character is written is written to be perfectly pure and angelic, but the script forces her to do things that make no sense, for no other reason than Von Trier's desire to defile that innocence, to push her face into the mud and spit on her.
post #11 of 12
I came across this thread not too long ago and on the strength of Dean's review I got it out of our local library. I'm glad I did - thanks Dean! The plot is perhaps a little too contrived, but the performances, particularly by Bjork (who I'd never heard of until seeing this movie), were amazing. I'm not sure that it's right up there on the hanky meter with "The Joy Luck Club", but it's pretty close.
post #12 of 12
I saw this in a theater with my sister and brother-in-law when it came out. My sister pointed out the credit at the end for the Homestead restaurant in Walla Walla, WA. The story was supposed to take place in Washington state though most all it shot in Denmark and Sweden. However they must've traveled to Walla Walla (where I grew up) to shoot exteriors of the Washington State Penitentiary and eaten at that restaurant. Even though we didn't like the film that much I did buy the DVD to check that credit. Recently a friend in Iceland has sent pictures of him hanging out with Bjork whom he is friends with. He's probably told her he actually knows someone from Walla Walla. biggrin.gif
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