It's impossible not to feel pure horror as the story pans out, but this film is melodramatic to the point of being senseless. While the idea of the escapist daydreamer looks good on paper, the musical interludes feel clunky and dull in practice. Catherine Deneuve does bring some class, but this is a disappointing work that could do with being an hour shorter and about five times as subtle.
This man is a genius. Dancer in the Dark won at Cannes despite the awful on set dispute between star and director (watch 100 cameras if you can about the making of this film). Bjork is amazing. Deneuve is amazing. The music is incredible. Nearly looses a point for it's 3rd Act, but so much up to then was worth the full 5/5. Von Trier is maybe the best popular art house filmmaker alive
Though I often find the Dogme aesthetic distracting, here it didn't seem to make a difference and, mixed with the musical sequences, the uncanniness made the film even more harrowing. Bjork gives a fantastic performance and, with Mark Bell, provides a uniquely great score. For all it's little flaws for those final ten minutes this is a great piece by Von Trier.
This is a victim movie. In the viewership you are set into this uncertain and uncomfortable feelings in the movie. You are reluctant to be brought to this unnatural stage with seemly nature scene. Yet the two extreme emotions of musical dance and suffering fear and pain did the counterpoint in which the idea of "you can only free by daydreaming" applies. Showing the cruelty in front of blindness is another thing.
A high School Musical of my genration, what can I say.. Sentimental teenagers may find something to sob about. Otherwise a twee and rather tacky film. Von Trier just pushing it beyond taste or subtlety, as per. I had a hard time sitting through Dogville, but at least the pain there felt real and powerful. Here it's just a nordic tele-novella + annoyingly howling Bjork..
Von Trier excels himself in the musical genre, a musical as original as it can get, magically carried over the shoulders of an impecable Bjork. He also singlehandedly makes an extremely powerful point against capital punishment. Furthermore typically Von Trier and the way he sacrifices pure goodness again, Bjork thrown under the bus, speak of the darkness in human nature and the importance of cherishing innocence.
It's a fairly well-acted and well-made film as a whole. But the tragedy starts fading into pure melodrama and, finally, comedy, as disaster upon disaster hit the nearly blind and poor factory worker (to start with). I ended up laughing loudly half-way through and all the way till the end..
Bjork gave a phenomenonal performance. And it's a technically unique movie with stunning cinematography. Though as much as the movie brought me such extreme emotions I can't say it's one of my favorite because Lars has only achieved this through creating extreme abusive, and terrible circumstances for his characters to suffer and relying on the the talents of his actresses to bring the movie to life.
I sobbed my tiny heart out. I admit it. The attempt to find even the tiniest glimmer of light & hope when the inevitable blackness is drawing ever closer (literally in Selma's case) is only made more powerful in the film's choice to cut through all the selfishness, sacrifice and misunderstanding of reality with momentary musical segments. Truly debilitating to the spirit, affirming to the soul.
A sledgehammer of a film, which would be utterly ruined by its appalling (albeit beautifully delivered) songs, were it not for von Trier's masterly direction. Of course it could be said that the tone of the songs is integral to the film's impact, and it cannot be denied that, however cringe-worthy the film's musical episodes are, there is something remarkable about them. The finale is quite simply stunning cinema.
It's like with any Von Trier movie, you quite like it to start with because it's different then you realise you have been taken for a ride and you get horribly bored. Dancer in the Dark is a film full of drama but in the end it lacks of substance. Prefer Dogville
Catherine Deneuve as prop - just because she had been in another musical with a 'vérité' slant, nudge-nudge, so clever. Except any Lillian Gish movie has more vérité than this, and without the annoying Dogma mannerisms. Point of having had enough of Trier's cheap emotional bullyings.