(15) 136mins

Tuesday, 4th October 2011, 5:31 pm

Director: Lars von Trier

Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Keifer Sutherland, John Hurt

I FEEL like the personification of The Emperor’s New Clothes fable - loads of critics have heaped praise on this film.

But I left the cinema baffled, bewildered and with a numb posterior.

On the plus side, this is a beautifully crafted movie with some stunning camera work and direction that works perfectly on the big screen.

It also has some truly excellent performances.

But at 136 minutes it seems to drag in large parts and meander off on its own.

The first hour or so has some good comic moments as we watch Dunst’s character Justine celebrate her wedding (or at least attempt to).

All the action takes place at Justine’s sister’s mansion. Gainsbourg plays the sibling, Claire, married to John (Sutherland), a man more concerned at how much the wedding is costing.

John Hurt is very good as the sisters’ dad, and the Wedding Planner (played by Udo Kier) is a great comic role.

As the wedding guests leave (plus the groom) all that are left are Justine, Claire and John and their son Leo.

And if you thought earlier parts of the film were depressing, then they seem positively hysterical with what’s to come.

What is coming is Melancholia, a whopping big planet heading towards the Earth.

The effect it has on the sisters is dramatic and we watch as the emotions that have driven Justine and Claire apart are put to one side in the face of adversity.

I don’t mind being forced to think about a movie, but von Trier seems to revel in making an audience struggle.

In fact, it was too much for some of the audience who made an early bid for freedom.

In the face of so much praise flying around, I feel concerned I may have missed the point of the film.

Instead, I was left with too many unanswered questions.

three out of five stars

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley