Efforts to imitate Tarkovsky seem juvenile; the landscape of a film like Stalker robbed of spiritual transcendence by an unrelenting post-modern cynicism. However, as a Borgesian procedural, in which themes of identity, culpability & performance are clearly broached, as well as an extended narrative of hypnotic suggestion, wherein the entire film takes place within the characters own subconscious, the film is unique.
The comparisons to "Piss Christ" are apt, aesthetically and in the sense that the viewer can be as outraged, moved or apathetic as one chooses to be. The saturated yellows of the sodium lights, the disembodied voices, the sounds of ever-present rain, and the oppressive imagery are artfully assembled to explore the dark halls of memory and psyche. Yet the story and theme are remarkably unremarkable. 30 min is enough.
a real masterpiece of neo noir. the psychology of this is fantastic, as it allows you to crawl inside a disturbed and broken mind. the performances are awkward and sort of hollow at times, but designed perfectly to be so. and the style from von trier is marvellous, with the lighting a particular highlight. his use of slow motion foreshadows his later films. one of the key von trier masterpieces.
An insanely hypnotic deconstruction of the film noir genre, seen through a maelström of surreal imagery and brilliant camera movements. To think that this is a debut feature confirms once and for all that Lars Von Trier is simply one of the best filmmakers in the world.