The House That Jack Built (2018)

The House That Jack Built (2018) MOVIE DETAILS
Name: The House Jack Built
• Year: 2018
Country: Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden
Director: Lars von Trier
Main cast: Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman
Runtime: 155 minutes
Production company: Zentropa Entertainments, Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image, Copenhagen Film Fund

Lars von Trier
hates mankind. I guess at this point anyone who has been following the filmmaker’s work is aware of that. So if The House That Jack Built (2018) is supposed to be about himself, his thoughts, his analysis about history, art, nature and global equilibrium, this must be a punch on the face to what we all represent as a group of societies, as species. All taking the distance of a fictitious character, as an observer from the outside. This movie is like an interview with Lars von Trier by Lars von Trier. He asks the questions and delivers the answers.

The Jack of the title is a serial killer who while committing his crimes is constantly having endless conversations with a character from his subconscious called Verge. But that is only an excuse from the filmmaker to enter the different subjects he wants to display along the film. Each one of his victims represent some of those things we humans do that disgust Von Trier so much. The director mentioned in an interview for the British newspaper The Guardian in 2017 that “The House That Jack Built (2018) celebrates the idea that life is evil and soulless, which is sadly proven by the recent rise of the Homo trumpus – the rat king“, aiming at the current tenant of the White House in the USA. Although in another interview to the same newspaper this year he stated “I do know a bit about psychopaths. I’ve never killed anyone myself. If I do, it will probably be a journalist”.

Using Jack as the vehicle, Lars von Trier praises art and creative techniques almost to a divine status, as he disregards religion as one of our biggest problems and points out uncountable examples of misbehaves we humans have committed along history. He condemns our conduct towards nature and reflects how stupid, arrogant or foolish we can be. For the Danish director, only art and nature is perfect. We humans are capable of making the best, but, instead, we choose to insult our own heritage by doing the worst.

As it’s common in Lars von Trier movies, The House That Jack Built (2018) is technically impeccable. The images are astonishing, searching always for the beauty in all things, that being a wonderful landscape or a brutal murdering. All the actors are perfect in their roles. The actors playing the victims portrait in a very evident and still measured way the sins they are representing, as Matt Dillon probably delivers the best performance of his career being either cold as ice, erudite as a Greek philosopher or ingenious as a kid opening the gifts on Christmas time on each required moment. Some of the different states of mind a naive intellectual like Lars von Trier has chosen to picture in the movie.

The House That Jack Built (2018) is not for everyone. And probably one must be of knowledge of some of the previous titles of this very personal director to get the whole picture here. Lars von Trier is a very personal and smart filmmaker, but he also has a huge vanity. One thing is for sure, if you are searching for a happy story don’t get even close of this movie. Nor any of the previous works of this filmmaker. Von Trier is a provocateur and he’s pissed at the world, he totally has his right to be and I agree with him in many many things. And he has found in Jack the perfect sidekick to commit his desired crimes, at least as a fiction piece. Thank you again, Lars.

RATE: 8/10


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