Film Reviews


By • Mar 21st, 2014 •

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NYMPHOMANIAC: VOLUME 1. Such a self-important film that it is distributed in volumes.

A darkened screen. A darkened screen. Yes, it’s written twice. This is as ridiculous as the length of the opening blank black image projected onto the screen followed by amateurishly executed intermittent audio and video used as a tool to assault the senses as taught in Film School 101. (Look at the experimental films of Bruce Connor such as A MOVIE from the 1960’s.) Brick walls, a squeaking fan, rain, and the deafening sounds of RAMMSTEIN usher the audience to another installment of the blatantly pretentious by the man who added the von to his name to make himself artsy, Lars von Trite Trier.

Trier is cinema’s Houdini – A master of the art of procuring funds for films that are lauded by those with paralyzed senses who are temporarily lobotomized for the duration of these cinematic crimes.

The trumpets blare for Trier, heralding vision and triumph. Another European artist once fooled people too; Adolph Hitler.

The claptrap begins from the very first word. A woman, Joe, is on the ground bleeding and battered. Seligman happens upon her and offers to call an ambulance. She refuses. He tends to her in his home where the woman tells her tale: The doctor’s daughter, enamored with her anatomy, leads a lifelong unfulfilling path. And that’s it. It’s wondrous that this cesspool of bodily fluids isn’t the incubator to the AIDS virus.

Fibonacci numbers, fly fishing, and other horse manure are used by the filmmaker to scream out, “Look at me! I’m smart. I researched these things to correlate them into the story. I’m weaving and looming!” Seligman just happens to have a fly for fishing tacked onto his wall and uses it as a reference for Joe’s sexcapades. Joe’s initial sexual encounter is commemorated with the numerals 3 and 5. Seligman’s eureka moment: “Hey! 3 and 5 makes 8. Fibonacci numbers.” Maybe TV’s Dr. Phil should employ such ridiculous methods to console and understand. (Imagine defending Oprah’s doctor)

Dialogue alone does not validate these references. Maps, fishing lures, and numbers flash on the screen. Oh that’s right, this is art. The director’s filmmaking approach is shock and yawn. If it had not been prohibited by child pornography laws, most probably, the scenes with young Joe would have been more graphic. If you have a penchant for penis, there is a plethora of penis photographed for the film. As evidenced in NYMPHOMANIAC, Trier’s career would be more palpable in music videos, as a stills photographer, or perhaps as a window dresser. Andy Warhol was a window dresser turned iconic artist. Warhol laughed at this and had the dignity to embrace this notion by naming his studio, The Factory, and used commercial products in his work.

With moments of great revelation, prolific and profound statements, and reflections of poignancy, NYMPHOMANIAC is so ridiculous that it’s comedic. It’s at these special moments that Adam Sandler should have reared his head to compliment such jabberings.

However, there is one redeeming chapter in this bloated vulva volume starring Uma Thurman as Mrs. H. This comic relief episode offers a quick escape from the laborious viewing. Happy Madison Productions would be wise to recruit Trier for their next project. Thanks to Trier, “the whoring bed” shall forever echo fond laughter.

The title of the film alludes to eroticism and the ribald. NYMPHOMANIAC is neither. Don’t be so shallow. Interestingly, the press screenings have been extended to accommodate the demand. Who was in the theater? The females greatly outnumbered the males. If tickets had been sold, most of the women could have purchased a senior admission. This fact is far more compelling and speculative than any aspect of the film.

Allow me to suggest that Lars Von Trier’s next work of relevance be a daring escapade into the world of necrophilia. Does NYMPHOMANIAC VOLUME 2 tackle this?

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