Some thoughts upon seeing Lars von Trier’s latest film:
It was brilliant to shoot the film on a set rather than on location. When making a film about another country it is likely to be the details you get wrong (as he did in the otherwise wonderful Dancer in the Dark). By eliminating the details, Trier is able to get America right.
Trier’s America is not that of B-movies, as it is for Tarantino. Rather, it is the America of John Steinbeck, Shirley Jackson, and Arthur Miller.
Which is not to say that there aren’t film influences. You can see hints of many a Western, but only in terms of “atmosphere,” not much else. [WARNING: Spoilers ahead.]
von Trier has finally made a film with a happy ending (well, at least as close to a happy ending as we can expect of the jolly Dane).
Unlike many other film versions of the Christ story (including most of von Trier’s recent movies), this is one of the few I can think of with a vengeful Christ-figure, as opposed to a suffering/forgiving one.