Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellen Skarsgaard, Shia Laboeuf, Jamie Bell, Willen Dafoe, Stacy Martin
Directed by: Lars Von Trier
Synopsis: The continuation of Joe’s sexually dictated life delves into the darker aspects of her adulthood, obsessions and what led to her being in Seligman’s care.
Part Two of Nymphomaniac carries on with Joe’s adventures in sex. Except it takes some mighty weird detours, including a stint as some sort of loan shark/organised crime ganglord. And then there is her young protege, who looks strangely like a female Ron Weasley. We also have a sado masochistic Billy Elliott and a dramatic bit where, within about a two year spell Stacy Martin suddenly ages so quickly that she becomes Charlotte Gansbourg! Obviously I am being facetious and nitpicking there, but I don’t feel bad because this film is rubbish.
I know a fair few reviewers who really like this film, and Von Trier’s previous work, but I have to say I found no redeeming qualities in this whatsoever. A film that sets out to tell a story and is also shocking is one thing, but a film that places the need to shock before the story is just lame. I can’t help feel that Von Trier went for the latter with this, right down to trying to compare Nymphomania with Paedophilia. Apparently both aren’t too far removed from each other and we should maybe even feel sorry for paedophiles? Now, I don’t know anyone who would rightly think that, so I can only surmise that it’s been put in to shock. Why? The only point I warmed to Von Trier was when Joe snuck out for some slap and tickle with Billy Elliott, leaving her infant son at home on his own, free to walk out on to the balcony. Instead of, as I expected, letting the infant fall to his death, thus piling more misery onto the characters and viewers, he spares him. Maybe Lars isn’t as shocking as he, and we, thought after all?
The whole format of the film just gets terribly repetitive over the course of nearly four hours. It basically goes: Joe tells Selgiman about a conquest, to which Seligman tries to attach some sort of philosophical meaning to. Repeat add infinitum until the unsatisfactory ending. There is no real empathy for the characters, no development. They are still all as unlikeable as they were in Part One. Ultimately we find out that the film’s message is the oppression of females by men. I mean, really? Is this not something the whole universe has known about forever? All that controversy for a message as weak as that?
I have to say, by the end of Part Two I was pretty happy it was all over. If it had been condensed into a cohesive two hour movie then there might have been something worth watching, but ultimately it just seems like a pointless movie by some one who is desperate to be controversial for the sake of controversy.