2018   Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden The House That Jack Built
The House That Jack Built Image Cover
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Director:Lars von Trier
Studio:Zentropa Entertainments
Writer:Lars von Trier, Jenle Hallund
IMDb Rating:7.0 (18,406 votes)
Awards:1 nomination
Genre:Crime, Drama, Horror
Duration:152 min
Languages:English, German, Italian
Lars von Trier  ...  (Director)
Lars von Trier, Jenle Hallund  ...  (Writer)
Matt Dillon  ...  Jack
Bruno Ganz  ...  Verge
Uma Thurman  ...  Lady 1
Siobhan Fallon Hogan  ...  Lady 2
Sofie Gråbøl  ...  Lady 3
Riley Keough  ...  Simple
Jeremy Davies  ...  Al
Jack McKenzie  ...  Sonny
Ed Speleers  ...  Ed - Police Officer 2 (as Edward Spleers)
David Bailie  ...  S.P.
Mathias Hjelm  ...  Glenn
Ji-tae Yu  ...  Man 2
Emil Tholstrup  ...  Young Jack
Marijana Jankovic  ...  Female Student
Carina Skenhede  ...  Little Old Lady
Manuel Alberto Claro  ...  Cinematographer
Jacob Secher Schulsinger  ...  Editor
Molly Malene Stensgaard  ...  Editor
Comments: Damn. I've been reading reviews of this before seeing it and wrote off all the talk about Jack being a stand in for Lars as "criticism" people who think too much come up with. My bad.

It's brilliant making an argument into art. I usually hate art that comes from ego. This thing obliterates everything about that notion.

Standard disclaimer about being against all this stuff, blah blah, but humans will push. It needs to be a heavy lift. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes not. Shallow always fails.

This really is Lars assuming the role of a serial killer to make an argument about, and a defense of, what he does. Matt Dillon is superb. Uma Thurman is bad, but short lived.

Evil, murder, and cringe-worthiness can be/are artful. Death and decomposition is as artful as Life and growing. Disagree or not, Lars does a great job of making his argument artfully. This is an extremely 'heady' flick, but on a very simple level. When you add up all the context and contexty stuff: Glenn Gould (wow, btw), rotting grapes (makes 'em sweeter), the way shadows appear and disappear as you walk between lamp posts. It's thoughtful as fuck. No denying it.

It's not particularly gory gross, but I think the theatrical (cut) version would suffice. It's only a couple minutes shorter and it appears to just remove some visually cringe-worthy shots. Like, we know Jack is planning to cut off this bound and gagged woman's breasts. He draws cut lines on them, after having her choose a knife. At one point, by the look on her face and the decibel level of her scream, we know that he is cutting off her breasts. We see said breasts later in the film unattached to the girl. We know he cut them off. Did he have to show us Jack cutting off her breasts (well, he just shows the initial incision)? I dunno, and don't really care.

This flick is miles and miles and miles beyond a flick like Asako I&II in terms of depth and execution, so how do I give Asako a 10 and this a 9?

Because my ratings are based on enjoyment not admiration.

The Japanese women's volleyball team has beaten China ONE time in 20 years. I enjoy the Japanese team a LOT more than the Chinese team.

I prefer the woods to the beach.


Summary: USA in the 1970s. We follow the highly intelligent Jack over a span of 12 years and are introduced to the murders that define Jack's development as a serial killer. We experience the story from Jack's point of view, while he postulates each murder is an artwork in itself. As the inevitable police intervention is drawing nearer, he is taking greater and greater risks in his attempt to create the ultimate artwork. Along the way we experience Jack's descriptions of his personal condition, problems and thoughts through a recurring conversation with the unknown Verge - a grotesque mixture of sophistry mixed with an almost childlike self-pity and psychopathic explanations. The House That Jack Built is a dark and sinister story, yet presented through a philosophical and occasional humorous tale.

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