The House That Jack Built

时间:2018-05-17 单词数:3650

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Dozens of people walked out in disgust when The House That Jack Built premiered at Cannes, and while I can certainly understand their reasons, I was happy to stay all the way until the jaw-dropping ending. The film is a dark and grisly serial-killer comedy – but, more relevantly, it’s a dark and grisly serial-killer comedy written and directed by Lars von Trier. That means it’s overlong, overblown, sometimes boring, sometimes shocking, but undoubtedly a bold and stimulating film which no one but Denmark’s notorious provocateur-auteur could have made.


It’s structured as a dialogue between Jack (Matt Dillon), a homicidal maniac, and an unseen interviewer named Verge (Bruno Ganz). Jack is telling Verge about five “incidents” he’s picked from his murdering career, which seems to run through the 1970s in an unspecified US town


In the first, funniest segment, he is driving along a forest road in his red van when he is flagged down by a snobbish woman (airily played by Uma Thurman) whose car has a flat tyre. As reluctant as Jack is to drive her to a garage, and once she’s sitting next to him, she insists on joking with her new acquaintance that he might be a serial killer.


After this ironic encounter gives him a taste for butchery, we see him strangling, stabbing and shooting innocent victims and then arranging their corpses, like shop-window mannequins, in a cold storage unit alongside shelves of frozen pizzas.


Jack drones on about why his crimes count as art, and he even nicknames himself Mr Sophistication. But von Trier makes it clear that he is actually a doofus. Dillon is excellent in the role of the uncomfortable Jack: a neurotic blunderer who manages to kill over 60 people only because he is so absurdly lucky and the local police are so absurdly inept – and, perhaps, because the world is a fundamentally uncaring place.


I glanced at my watch once or twice myself, but most of the time I was challenged, appalled and amused by von Trier’s mischievous deconstruction of the serial-killer genre.