Film Reviews

NYMPHOMANIAC VOLUME 2

By • Mar 29th, 2014 •

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Having been subjected to Volume 1, the absurd, pretentious, agonizing cacophony, one must admit to masochism to willingly endure Volume 2. Numero due begins promptly. Without fail, two minutes in, Trier’s tawdry techniques take effect. This is the cue for Seligman’s pompous literary diagnosis peripherally connecting religion.

Part 1 was frantic. Part 2 is an evenly paced somber melancholy descent into sordid desperation. Trier was on the road to redemption for the cinematic transgressions of Volume 1. To great displeasure, the asinine trumps all when recounting both films. Yet, Volume 2 is not without a glimmering sliver of salvation. The surmounting mental anguish of the film’s central character breeds a newfound concern for her previous one-dimensionality. Somehow, this character is rewarded with a depth that towers above the idiotic premises and video art.

Sad is the soul of the broken-hearted who is burdened with the insatiable. A nightmarish lifelong sexually-fueled anti-fantasy poisoned by a devoid sensuality streaking towards sexual suicide. Through a lifelong progression, she has been able to endure the hurt, humiliation, and wretchedness, progressively trampling all, while remaining true to herself. Joe is a heroine, small in stature, never meek. As she announced, “I am not a sex addict. I am a nymphomaniac.” In keeping with Trier’s absurd filmmaking practices, Joe the nympho, serves to empower and stand as a strong champion of women.

Cinema has its portrayals of female characters with great burdens and struggles who stir emotion in the most callous creature. Sophia Loren in I GIRASOLI (SUNFLOWER) as a woman unable to accept that her husband perished on the Russian front finally searches for him and finds that her instincts were correct, yet the husband she longed for has remained in Russia with a new wife who bore him a child. MONSTER stars Charlize Theron who portrays Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer sentenced to execution. Aileen never had a chance in a life with little upbringing and monumental abuse. In NYMPHOMANIAC, Joe is subjected to her internal sufferings and the external elements that facilitate her illness.

VOLUME 2 finds Joe married with a child. Lacking the maternal instinct, her child’s birth might as well have been stillborn. This woman is incapable as a nurturing soul. Having become desensitized, she goes on a quest to regain what was lost. Africans, a sort of dominatrix, and extortion lead to the incident that led her to Seligman’s. Also worth mentioning is her effort to sexually manumit herself. The end. Alleluia.

Thaleia, the goddess of comedy must have broken a rib watching this scene. Joe eyes a group of Africans on the street and employs a translator to bring a message to one of the men. Perhaps this olive branch gesture to this dark stranger would break through the cultural barrier and get her groove back. Not one, but two men enter the hotel room to claim her. She submits without suspecting that both men would argue with one another, standing “head to head,” and disregard the bodily offering. With elementary film production techniques employed by Trier, this is the first use of such that works ideally. A low centered camera, attention to the foreground and background, and the rule of thirds. It’s highly unlikely that this scene will ever appear on American television; ever. With such disdain for this director, the world can only hope that this scene is a great unforgiving insult to the nation from where these actors come, straining the relations between the African actors’ homeland and director, causing a diplomatic mess.

Welcome Fido. The endearing affectionate name bequeathed unto Joe by this physically inferior white male who services women by beating them. Objects of choice are riding crops, gloves aligned with coins, and a whip. This sadistic little man flogs Joe on Christmas Day 40 times because of the Roman blah blah blah. Guess who interjects with a correction with the number 39 and a story as to why Jesus was not whipped 40 times? Selligman, should challenge the computer Watson on the game show, Jeopardy! The reason behind Joe’s submissiveness to this guy and why she left her child unattended at home is because of this deep-rooted psychological need and fulfillment to satisfy…yeah, huh.

The third segment of note, oh my, the Fibonacci number 3 (yes, the Fibonacci return in Volume 2!) is the extortionist segment. Joe isn’t a team player. Well, she is, but, Joe has sex with the entire team and women would see to it to damn the whore to hell. Her prior female boss saw to it that she attend group therapy for sex addicts. Carrying the story forward, our favorite nympho becomes employed by L (Willem Dafoe) as a gentle Charles Bronson or young Rocky Balboa; an enforcer type who is involved in debt collection with a technique that neither of these two guys would be caught dead performing.

Her boss assessed that she is good with people and knows just how to maximize the situation. Accompanied by two goons, vases are smashed. (Ouch!) In this instance, Joe unzips a man’s pants as he’s bound to a chair. She tells him stories and by gauging his reaction, figures out that this guy is a pedophile. She knows that he has never acted on his impulse and suffers sexual repression in a different manner than her own. He screams out that he will pay and she rewards him with a mouthful of sympathy. Lest not forget the young girl her boss urges her to befriend which leads to bordering on the cusp of illegal touching, betrayal, and attempted murder. Shocking to think that organized crime’s handbook neglects to include Joe’s methodology.

To reiterate criticism from NYMPHOMANIAC VOLUME 1, the plot is forced. Three of numerous examples: When her son Marcel ventures unattended to a sliding glass door that is already open for him. Second, the resident of the house where collection is due. And, the last scene with the man’s action and Joe’s reaction, rings totally false and unnecessary.

Trier wants to be an expressive artist. 90 minutes have been trimmed from his film volumes. Perhaps it has the little girls sexually exploited in the name of art. When musician Marilyn Manson releases material he is attacked as lewd, crude, and rude. When Trier’s release is penis and vagina, it’s permissible as well as daring. It’s not honest. In contrast to NYMPHOMANIAC VOLUME 1, honesty is porn actress Jenna Jameson doing what she does while reciting Shakespeare.

As far as masters of the craft who have built tension and have delved into sexual themes, Polanski and Kubrick are whom we revere. LOLITA’s literary adaptation was restrained because of censors at the time. Polanski’s REPULSION is tension filled. If anyone were to weigh in on NYMPHOMANIAC, the wishful choices would be an audience of Gerard Damiano (DEEP THROAT director) Stanley Kubrick and Roman Polanski.

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