Star rating – 5/10
Maybe it’s me – and I am entirely willing to believe that it could be – but Lars von Trier’s blue planet disaster film, which is just released on DVD, is totally baffling, not to say nuts, and about an hour too long. The dramatic classical music that overplays the puzzling introduction for at least 10 minutes - or at least it felt like a very long time – signals that this is an event rather than a film whose plot you can follow from start to finish. And the image of the Ophelia-like bride floating in water gives a clue that all will not turn out for the best from the off.
I’m all for few a few twists and turns along the way, but quite how you can go from a wedding somehow ruined by the bride’s mental health problems, to a planet about to crash into the earth and destroy us all is a bit of a stretch. Kirsten Dunst is terrific as Justine, the advertising executive who is getting married to Michael at her sister Claire’s lavish castle like home. Charlotte Gainsbourgh is also very good as the organised sister who is justifiably annoyed after she has gone to so much trouble to organise the wedding, and her wealthy husband is footing the bill to boot. It’s not quite clear why Justine is not entirely happy on this day, but her mother, played wonderfully by Charlotte Rampling, is bitter and twisted enough about the matrimonial state in her wedding reception speech to make you suspect that possibly Justine didn’t have the ideal role model.
It all goes very wrong, don’t ask me why, I couldn’t really say, and the partially muffled dialogue didn’t help much either. Anyway Justine has a break down and stays with Claire, who helps her to get better. And bizarrely, as she does so, it is her sister’s turn to freak out and lose the plot as the gigantic blue planet gets closer. Her husband assures her that it will just be a near miss. How can he tell? The film whirls into a totally different act, and as Claire becomes more and more agitated, Justine seems to be entering a state of ecstasy.
The cinematography is gorgeous, the special effects great, and the shots of the blue planet looming ever closer are truly beautiful. But it’s all just a bit bonkers...