films seen
13
average score
2.84*
nationality
Denmark - 66 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

One of the (few) bad boys of arthouse cinema and the founder of the Dogme movement. He likes to shock and loves provocations, more importantly though he's a pretty talented director who has worked hard on an oeuvre well worth exploring.

Rare treats

Antichrist

2009 / 108m - Denmark
Thriller
Antichrist poster

Antichrist is atmospheric, moody, technically impressive and pretty mysterious.

The good stuff

The House That Jack Built

2018 / 155m - Denmark
Horror, Thriller
The House That Jack Built poster

The latest Lars von Trier is twisted, dark, sometimes shocking but also quite funny. It's a long journey into the mind of a crazy serial killer. Some of the imagery is pretty sick and if you're squeamish this probably isn't the film for you, but it's a unique film with some very impressive moments and some memorable scenes.

Dogville

2003 / 178m - Denmark
Drama
Dogville poster

I never liked von Trier's Dogme obsession, as it largely contradicts my own views on cinema. Luckily the man suffers from a rather short attention span.

Solid pieces

Melancholia

2011 / 135m - Denmark
Drama, Sci-fi
3.5*/5.0*
Melancholia poster

Manderlay

2005 / 139m - Denmark
Drama
3.5*/5.0*
Manderlay poster

The Element of Crime

Forbrydelsens Element
1984 / 104m - Denmark
Thriller, Crime
3.5*/5.0*
The Element of Crime poster

Lars Von Trier's first full-length feature. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but it surely wasn't one of the best-looking films of the 80s. The Element of Crime, with its hellishly red monochrome look, deserves more praise for its looks alone. I was a little less taken with its arthouse take on the noir genre, but that's just a side note really.

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The plot revolves around a detective who meets up with his previous mentor. The two of them had written a book in the past, detailing a methodology for identifying criminals. Eager to prove his theories, the detective begins to put them into practice when he is hired to solve a murder case.

The cinematography is outrageous, the setting pleasantly vague and mysterious. I'm not joking when I say that on those strengths alone, the film was close to becoming a personal favorite. I just didn't care for the noirish elements, which didn't necessarily feel out of place, just poorly realized. A very interesting film nonetheless, Von Trier started his career with a bang.

The inoffensive

The Boss of It All

Direktøren for Det Hele
2006 / 99m - Denmark
Comedy
3.0*/5.0*
The Boss of It All poster

Dubious filler

Nymphomaniac

2013 / 117m - Denmark
Drama
2.0*/5.0*
Nymphomaniac poster

The Five Obstructions

De Fem Benspænd
2003 / 90m - Denmark
Documentary
2.0*/5.0*
The Five Obstructions poster

Breaking the Waves

1996 / 159m - Denmark
Drama
2.0*/5.0*
Breaking the Waves poster

This was the big breakthrough film for Lars von Trier. A dark, relentless drama with strong religious overtones. While undoubtably impressive in some ways, the drama here is pretty hit or miss, and if you fail to care about the two leads then the 160-minute runtime is going to be quite the challenge.

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Bess is a somewhat simple-minded religious girl, Jan a man of the world. The two find each other and get married, but when Jan needs to leave again to pick up his job at an oil rig, Bess struggles to let him go. She prays to God to return Jan to her, then Jan suffers a near-lethal accident that leaves him disabled in bed.

The once so unique "handheld"/dogme camera work has become a staple of the genre, performances are strong, but the characters lack depth and the ever-spiraling drama gets a little tedious. I never really cared enough about the characters and their tribulations to make the drama work, so in the end this was just a mediocre von Trier for me.

Plain forgettable

Dancer in the Dark

2000 / 140m - Denmark
Drama, Crime, Musical
1.5*/5.0*
Dancer in the Dark poster

Irritation overload

The Idiots

Idioterne
1998 / 117m - Denmark
Comedy, Drama
0.5*/5.0*
The Idiots poster