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 The House That Jack Built 

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 The House That Jack Built 
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Keeping it Light
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Post The House That Jack Built
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The House That Jack Built is a 2018 psychological horror film written and directed by Lars von Trier, starring Matt Dillon in the title role of Jack. The story follows Jack, a serial killer, over the course of 12 years in the 1970s and 1980s in the U.S. state of Washington. Von Trier has described the film as celebrating "the idea that life is evil and soulless." The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, marking von Trier's return to the festival after more than six years.


Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:14 pm
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Post Re: The House That Jack Built
This is a great addition to the Lars von Trier catalog. Of course it's not for everyone but it is really quite fascinating and Matt Dillon gives a career best performance here as Jack. It feels a bit long in the tooth by the end but it has a lot to say and it entertaining throughout the majority of the running time and is darkly hilarious.

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Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:32 pm
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Post Re: The House That Jack Built
This is excellent. One of Lars von Trier's best; I admit I am predisposed to his style and "voice," but I can also objectively tell he is creatively on fire here. It is such a feast of a film, and it conjures a laundry list of adjectives: disgusting, hilarious, philosophical, poetic, etc. At times, it is absolutely savage and nearly as frightening as a film can be (the hunting-trip incident, for example). At other points, it is an undeniably effective gallows comedy (such as Jack's OCD-driven inability to leave a crime scene, certain he needs to return just one more time to clean a final bit of blood).

And the more one ponders it—the conversations on art and morality shared by Jack and Virgil, the idea of Jack as a horror-movie metaphor for the director's own tendency toward provocation and self-doubt—the more it reveals itself as densely woven with ideas, themes, and a general air of possibility. By so completely committing to his mad cinematic muse, von Trier more than earns every tonal shift, as well as the film's epic length. And Matt Dillon boldly hits every note required of him; it is a portrayal of psychopathic narcissism to rival Christian Bale's in American Psycho.

I also have this peculiar, almost tactile love for how Lars von Trier films have nominal settings (Nymphomaniac is set in "England," this is set in the "Pacific Northwest"), but each is truly set in Lars von Trier World, a place where accents, geography, etc. blur. Exactly where we are in time and place becomes hard to specify. I know it is a partly unintentional byproduct of his fear of flying and his ability to gather prestigious international casts in Denmark for his shoots, but it nonetheless pleases me.

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Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:18 am
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Post Re: The House That Jack Built
This is easily one of the most interesting films I have seen all year. I'll admit that I'm not much of a Lars Von Tier fan, but after seeing this I do want to check out more of his films. It's way too long IMO, but I'd be lying if I said I was ever bored because I wasn't. Matt Dillon is truly fantastic in this, and for the most part this movie is definitely a dark comedy and it absolutely works. There is so much going on in this film that I almost want to watch it again one day to catch everything I might have missed and who knows maybe I will, but for now all I can say is I very interested to see what this director does next.

B+


Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:40 pm
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Post Re: The House That Jack Built
This is superb. Overtly watchable and devlishly entertaining. Matt Dillon is fantastic and hilarious. Got to be the best performance of his life.


Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:04 am
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Post Re: The House That Jack Built
Been putting this one off but it’s becoming obvious that whenever David, Dill and Algren vouch for something, it’s about 99% guaranteed to be worth a look. Plus a friend has been bugging me to get into Von Trier, so, fuck it. Here goes nothing.


Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:29 pm
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Post Re: The House That Jack Built
Ooh, pressure. ;)

I am sure you will have some interesting insights regardless.


Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:24 pm
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Post Re: The House That Jack Built
Loved it. It’s up its own arse in a few places, but it doesn’t matter. The idiosyncratic style is justified through deeper creative goals—and it’s not half as weird as von Trier’s reputation advertises. It’s some masterly filmmaking. Apart from dragging midway there’s an almost Kubrick-like hypnotism that’s difficult to look away from. The apparent therapy session used as voiceover and exposition device is for the most part solid, but as impressive as Trier’s filmmaking talents seem to be, he doesn’t mind a bit of overindulgence, and like so many auteurs that tried and failed before him, his desire to impress sometimes impedes the gravitas he very clearly aims for—the voiceover drifts in and out of artistic credibility. It’s where cinema has matched literature a handful of times at most. Luckily though, The House That Jack Built is exceptional for reasons specific to storytelling and the craft; it’s possible to detect the education of wide ranging trial and error behind his filmmaking confidence. A good place to have started with him I’m guessing.

This is basically everything Maniac should have been. The uncompromising depiction of a plausible serial killer, surreal by virtue of its own realism. Not giving a fuck about censorship allows Trier to explore the cavities of psychopathy with greater commitment and clarity than might have ever been put on film before. Whether you’re interested in serial killers or not, to envelope one’s story in a style consistent with their thinking, is to transport the audience past affectation, over the wall of Self, into the skin of someone else; and because that someone else happens to murder people, by simply adhering to their psychotic perspective—on a range of things—Trier delivers some of the most fascinating and brutal filmmaking sequences of last year.

Here’s where I’m unsure: the voiceover part dragging midway did so because Jack was making these seemingly profound statements—like the street lamp analogy—that were mostly just indulgent ramblings, but sat on the edge of insight enough to keep you interested. Take the street lamp analogy: the watercolour motion capture used, seems to take the story fairly seriously—but the story itself is bullshit. It’s ad absurdum: the analogy doesn’t supplement any meaning, instead it rather complicates it. That time between murders and the remedial effect they bring him can be illustrated as the two respective shadows caused by two street lamps were you to walk from directly beneath one lamp to directly under the other is cool and all, but the meaning implied isn’t paralleled enough with the scenario past basic physics to justify the lengths it goes to. From that perspective it might seem like Trier intended this to show a different side of Jack’s vacuity and narcissism, but it’s more convincing on screen and it’s hard to say having never seen anything he’s made before. I’m starting to think he knew what he was doing, and the fact he achieves a degree of uncertainty is simply what we should expect of the unreliable narrator on display.

It’s an overall important, bold film, explores a niche realm of psychology with enough empathy to justify the depravity being showcased, can’t call it a masterpiece, but it’s close. And almost forgot to mention the [spoilers ahead] journey to hell, how fucking awesome it was when it switched to that surreal Wes Anderson style then jumped straight to the high-res handheld shot when they went into the tunnel: directors need to have fun like that more often. That bit alone is 10 times more meta than anything Deadpool will ever be in. It’s almost a shame some of the film is so fucked up, because his talent probably won’t reach the audience it should. Not that he probably cares. It hasn’t quite motivated a viewing of Dogville, but will give Antichrist a crack soon. More keen to see what he’ll do next.

A-


Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:46 pm
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Post Re: The House That Jack Built
Good film where Dillon definitely nails the serial killer role. The film is well made, a disturbing story with some disturbing imaginary. I just didn't get really engaged with it, it's the first Von Trier movie I've seen, and there's some admiring quality to the story he's telling and how it's filmed, but as a whole I didn't feel that impressed with it either.

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Sun Mar 24, 2019 3:48 am
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