Suffice it to say, sensitive cinemagoers should probably give this one as wide a berth as a possible.
Lars von Trier, the man who gave us Antichrist and Nymphomaniac Parts 1 and 2, is back with another pot-stirrer, The House That Jack Built. Matt Dillon plays a serial killer in the film, which, of course, has already been stirring up controversy at Cannes.
The picture follows serial killer Jack over a span of 12 years, introducing us to the murders that have defined his horrifying tendencies. He considers his kills to be works of art, and embarks on a riskier path – with police closing in – to create the ultimate artwork.
“Gross” and “torturous” were some of the words being thrown around from those that saw the film at Cannes, where, in true von Trier fashion, the film was met with a highly polarised reception. According to THR, there were a number of walkouts due to the film’s depiction of torture and murder, particularly that of children, but there was also a six-minute standing ovation.
Variety’s New York Bureau Chief tweeted a pic of the walkout:
I’ve never seen anything like this at a film festival. More than 100 people have walked out of Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built,’ which depicts the mutilation of women and children. “It’s disgusting,” one woman said on her way out. #Cannes2018 pic.twitter.com/GsBGCoyHEG
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) May 14, 2018
He also described one particular scene that caused the exodus:
The scene that led to the walkouts of ‘The House That Jack Built’ had Matt Dillon aiming a rifle at two small children, blowing their heads off. Why did #Cannes2018 let this film in the festival? https://t.co/OkaipZChR3
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) May 15, 2018
The first trailer below provides a taste of what’s in store. The House That Jack Built seems to be firmly in line with Nymphomaniac, both with the ‘years in the life of’ approach and von Trier’s visual/tonal stylings, such as the cross cutting of animals in his connection of nature with our wild, immoral base traits (or something like that).
Just a heads up: The trailer below is certainly in the red band category, so be aware that there are some unsettling images.
The House That Jack Built, also starring Uma Thurman, Riley Keough, Bruno Ganz, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Sofie Gråbøl, Jeremy Davies, and Ed Speleers, is set for release in von Trier’s home country of Denmark on November 29. Other release dates to follow.
Official synopsis for The House That Jack Built:
USA in the 1970s. We follow the highly intelligent Jack over a span of 12 years and are introduced to the murders that define Jack’s development as a serial killer. We experience the story from Jack’s point of view, while he postulates each murder is an artwork in itself. As the inevitable police intervention is drawing nearer, he is taking greater and greater risks in his attempt to create the ultimate artwork. Along the way we experience Jack’s descriptions of his personal condition, problems and thoughts through a recurring conversation with the unknown Verge – a grotesque mixture of sophistry mixed with an almost childlike self-pity and psychopathic explanations. The House That Jack Built is a dark and sinister story, yet presented through a philosophical and occasional humorous tale.