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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4


DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS:  135 minutes, five featurettes, two theatrical trailers
VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreeen)
AUDIO:  English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles:  Spanish, English close captioning

STUDIO:  Magnolia Home Entertainment/ Magnolia Pictures/ Zentropa Entertainment
RELEASE DATE:  3-13-2012

Justine (Kirsten Dunst) celebrates her marriage to Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) at a party in the home Justine's sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and rich brother-in-law John (Keifer Sutherland).   Claire's life begins to unravel on that night as melancholia sets in and the wedding party is a fiasco.   In the second part of the film, events pick up at the same house months later as Claire invites a depressed Justine to stay as a rogue planet called Melancholia approaches Earth.  Melancholia threatens the very existence of humankind.

MELANCHOLIA is a visual and emotional masterpiece from director Lars Von Trier.    It approaches the end of the world through the eyes of two sisters who are at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum.   The beginning of the film is the end or the end is the beginning.   You could compare it to a more personal version of other apocalyptic films Von Trier has done in the past such as THE ELEMENT OF CRIME.   The Wagner music at the beginning and the end raises the stakes for the imagery.    Charlotte Gainsbourg is more of a stronger presence in this film while MELANCHOLIA fails to sell to me that Kirsten Dunst is a great actress.  She holds her own barely as Justine while every other actor in this production still have better acting games (especially Udo Kier who has a part in the first half of the film as he doesn't want to even look at Justine during the party).

MELANCHOLIA is a film about depression, end of the world, how a family deals with the end of the world, and the effects one's depression has on others.   Lars Von Trier has directed misfires like DOGMA, but MELANCHOLIA is one of the films where he is at the top of his directorial game.   The cinematography style and directorial style may not be for everyone as Von Trier tries to make the movie seem like a documentary as he also allows the actors to improv while he limits the coverage shot.   Still it succeeds on exploring the minds of the characters and makes them fully realized characters.  I just wish von Trier got a better actress to play Justine, but male fans of Dunst will be delighted when they see her nude in two scenes.

ABOUT MELANCHOLIA-  The cast, director, and a psychiatrist talk about the depression and how it is portrayed in the film
THE VISUAL STYLE-  the directing and cinematography of MELANCHOLIA.   He used a small camera in attempt to make sure the actors didn't act to the camera and how the music of Wagner gives teh image a romantic feel.
VISUAL EFFECTS-  a look at the use of practical effects and CGI used in the film.
THE UNIVERSE-  a discussion about the physics of the film and using real physics rules in portraying the end of the world events in the film.
HDNet: A LOOK AT MELANCHOLIA- a promotional featurette that goes into a little more detail about the movie than the usual HDNet featurettes.

The two theatrical trailers are included on the disc which I  think the first trailer is more effective.

FINAL ANALYSIS:  MELANCHOLIA is a haunting and emotional masterpiece.  One of Von Trier's best films.   The featurettes give great insight into the making of the film.

this DVD review is (c)3-11-2012 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com