The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

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mfunk9786
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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#276 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:29 pm

black&huge wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:27 pm
mfunk9786 wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:30 am
EDIT: Meant to add this last night but the editing in the R-rated version is significant with regard to the violence. I don't know if there's a single incident that is spared, save the first and fifth, from some sort of cutting away from/editing in something uncomfortable. But Incidents 3 and 4 are definitely butchered compared to the director's cut. I think it's a situation where if you've never seen the film at all, it's fine to view the R-rated cut, but if you've seen it already, you're probably going to be one and done with the neutered version until the director's cut re-emerges.
SpoilerShow
trying to piece together from just what I've read over the past few months but the only things I feel I'm 99% sure about is that there are impact shots of the bullets hitting the children, the actual showing of the mother feeding the children's corpses (or just a single child) and showing in detail Jack cutting off Simple's breasts.
SpoilerShow
The camera doesn't seem to linger on the bodies in the freezer as much, either, thought I noticed it when he first reveals Grumpy and it kept catching my eye after that. But that could just be the first viewing being more shocking, memorable, etc

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#277 Post by Daneurism » Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:31 am

SpoilerShow
That scene of the mother being forced to feed her son pie is wildly upsetting and I think towers over everything else in the movie. Not surprised that was cut./spoiler]

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#278 Post by Peter-H » Tue Dec 25, 2018 4:16 am

To me Verge and Jack’s dialogue about art was almost gobbledegook. I thought it would be a My Dinner With Andre-esque conversation between a serial killer and Virgil but I got nothing out of those exchanges. Did anyone else?

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#279 Post by dda1996a » Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:38 pm

Yes I did, because as I said I viewed it as Von Trier's confessions (as is the whole film really). Didn't even need to see Virgil.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#280 Post by black&huge » Tue Dec 25, 2018 3:06 pm

dda1996a wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:38 pm
Yes I did, because as I said I viewed it as Von Trier's confessions (as is the whole film really). Didn't even need to see Virgil.
Basically my thoughts too. I saw this entire film as Trier willing to argue against himself and doing so while not completely shutting himself down or justifying his controversial attitude as of late. This film is really something in the way of greatness.

He also said sort of passively in an interview earlier this year this may be his last film. If so I'd say personaly he went out strong.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#281 Post by dda1996a » Tue Dec 25, 2018 4:01 pm

Not only going out strong, but this is a case of a director making a film that so encapsulates his oeuvre and themes that I can't really see where he can go from here (there a few directors who I feel have this i.e Tsai's Wayward Cloud and Stray Dogs, Malick's Tree of Life and Wilder's The Apartment for example).

I also saw a lot of sadness here, like the third incident which I felt was about his problems and inability to raise a family (he does have children though)

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#282 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:54 pm

I have not seen The House That Jack Built as yet but there has always been a strong sense of 'intellectual character as pretentious and fundamentally flawed' in von Trier's work. In The Element of Crime the inspector has his mentor 'expert' act crazily around him but still puts his unwavering belief in the principles espoused by his mentor in his book into practice in the child murder case which:
Spoiler for the ending of The Element of CrimeShow
eventually causes him to have to commit the final murder himself in order to fit the profile as written when the use of a child as bait for the killer does not work out, with the revelation following this that the mentor was the serial child killer all along (which is suggested to be why he had such insight into the mind of a killer) and had committed suicide leaving his work unfinished, at least until Fisher ironically completed it for him
The missionary-like doctor in the film within a film in Epidemic actually spreads the disease he gets self-aggrandisingly helicoptered in like a Wagnerian hero to treat (and in the framing story the filmmakers overconfidently end up invoking the deadly plague on themselves through experimental hypnosis-regression therapy). The lead in Europa is an American intellectual coming to post-war Germany and ending up making events even worse, only succeeding in helping an act of violence to get carried out because of his naivety to post-war political factions leaving him open to exploitation. The head surgeon Stig Helmer in The Kingdom is a cruel taskmaster and ghost denier who ends up caught up in petty feuds that lead him down the route of medically unethical voodoo rituals. In Breaking The Waves there is the kindly doctor who completely misunderstands Bess's problematic situation caused by those around her for a form of insanity. In Dogville Paul Bettany's character is almost the epitome of the 'dangerously useless intellectual' who uses his book learning and lofty quotations as both a weapon to shout others down and a shield against having to face any situation directly. Keifer Sutherland's character in Melancholia rationalises the planet on a collision course and then abandons his family rather than facing the end with them. Stellan Skarsgard's character in the interstitial scenes of Nyph()maniac has his overconfident rationalising sense of understanding of the events being recounted being regularly called into question and then completely undermines his ostensibly asexual persona as being less of a philosophy and more a lifestyle choice with the betrayal in the final scene. Grace in Dogville and especially Manderlay kind of deludes herself through over rationalisation that she is doing the correct action even when it is having horrible consequences or leads to her exploitation. And so on.

So the idea that Verges might be flawed would probably make sense, plus if there is the sense as mentioned earlier that its all in the head of the main character then the main character himself could be another pretentious intellectual who only succeeds in deluding himself that he's doing some kind of great work rather than wrecking everything.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:30 am, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#283 Post by Peter-H » Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:12 pm

dda1996a wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:38 pm
Yes I did, because as I said I viewed it as Von Trier's confessions (as is the whole film really). Didn't even need to see Virgil.
But I don't see how Jack's dialogue during those scenes work as Von Trier's confessions, because they don't seem to reveal anything interesting about Jack/Von Trier's views on art. For example Jack thinks great art is about "noble rot" and "icons" and verge says that art requires love, but these ideas are basically just stated; it doesn't seem like they're expanded upon or explored in an interesting way.

The poster above said that maybe Jack's dialogue is supposed to be pseudo-intellectual nonsense (which makes sense since it shows that Jack's belief that he's an artist is just a rationalization for his evil acts), but I don't think Verge's dialogue is much better.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#284 Post by furbicide » Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:24 pm

You will all be stunned and surprised to learn that Armond White likes this film:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/ ... rk-satire/

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#285 Post by dda1996a » Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:09 am

Peter-H wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:12 pm
dda1996a wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:38 pm
Yes I did, because as I said I viewed it as Von Trier's confessions (as is the whole film really). Didn't even need to see Virgil.
But I don't see how Jack's dialogue during those scenes work as Von Trier's confessions, because they don't seem to reveal anything interesting about Jack/Von Trier's views on art. For example Jack thinks great art is about "noble rot" and "icons" and verge says that art requires love, but these ideas are basically just stated; it doesn't seem like they're expanded upon or explored in an interesting way.

The poster above said that maybe Jack's dialogue is supposed to be pseudo-intellectual nonsense (which makes sense since it shows that Jack's belief that he's an artist is just a rationalization for his evil acts), but I don't think Verge's dialogue is much better.
I don't remember specific lines but a lot of what he says (Jack, not Virgil) makes sense as Von Trier himself trying to make sense of himself. Sadly we need to look over concrete evidence something I sadly can't do.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#286 Post by Big Ben » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:21 am

So I watched this on demand, obviously edited and think it's a great film but it's not something I'd say I liked as it's abrasive but it has to be given the subject matter. It reminds me a lot of High Plains Drifter in the sense t's a ghoulish film but the main character serves as a jumping for a much broader criticism. For all the fuss about certain things those in the know about serial killers know this could have been much worse. Bear with me as the text I've tagged as spoilers is quite long.

The film is, ostensibly, somewhat of a lie.
SpoilerShow
Yes, these events occurred but we're told all this information via a totally unreliable narrator. No doubt Jack has committed these atrocities but these are clearly embellished atrocities. Ones told by a narcissist to appear to be more sophisticated (Sorry!) than they really are. The second incident for instance is simultaneously preposterous, hilarious and horrifying. Jack bullshits his way into Claire's home on the pretense not of being an officer (She's too smart to be fooled by his lack of a badge!) but she IS foolish enough to think her husbands pension can doubled and this of course leads to her being strangled and then stabbed, What follows is a darkly humorous attempt to ensure he hasn't left any trace evidence and when a police officer does show up Jack is sure to inform the cop that he is indeed a little weird but he's also very smart! In Jack's recollection the woman most certainly falls for his clearly "superior" intellect but not the man! The cop doesn't fall for the act. Jack gets away with the woman's corpse but he doesn't fool the cop. What I'm getting at is that almost everyone in this story is depicted as how Jack wants us to see this. Feeble, inept and yes even simple.
Regarding the structure of the film i.e comedy/reality/metaphor.
SpoilerShow
Jack is stupidly inept killer. For someone who claims to be so intelligent he clearly makes tons of mistakes, mistakes that police officers in absolutely zero jurisdictions would have problems making progress on. Jack claims at one point to have killed at least sixty people in the sequence with Simple. Is this possible? Sure. Is it probable? Not really. The whole plot of the films is so ridiculously outlandish I cannot take all of it with a straight face and I certainly think that's the point. I feel the ostentatious of the film comes not just from the acts Jack commits but from the system that allows men like Jack to flourish despite who they are. And how truly absurd it appears at first that Jack somehow, amazingly, literally escapes capture by supernatural means. It's so surreal and yet it provides Jack with something he'll never get in life, or in death. Real, legitimate, eternal punishment in the fiery pit of hell. Hit the road Jack indeed!
Regarding Matt Dillon's performance I feel this is an absolute career best. He's awful yes but that's entirely the point. He's charming enough that I wanted to keep watching but just enough of a bastard that you don't ever take his side. The sequence on the porch is a real highlight of the film for me. Most interestingly though is how well Dillon interprets the script. Psychopaths have issues understanding emotional context in language and the way Dillon delivers them with a sort of droll sensibility really reinforces that. For a language von Trier speaks as a second one he understands English well enough to remove enough emotion for most of the film to show Jack for what he is. It's not just what Jack says in this film but how he says it.

Overall I think I'll revisit this whenever it gets a proper release in the States (I imagine Criterion will be putting it out yes?). It's a vulgar display for sure but if it wasn't the people criticizing him now would most certainly criticize von Trier for not being serious right?

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#287 Post by Peter-H » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:33 pm

A significant portion of the film was taken up by the back and forth between Verge and Jack. As I was saying earlier much of it seems like nonsense to me. Some examples:
SpoilerShow
"Some people claim that the atrocities we commit in our fiction are those inner desires which we cannot commit in our controlled civilization. I don't agree; I believe heaven and hell are one and the same -- the soul belongs to heaven and the body to hell. The soul is reason and the body is all the dangerous things, for example art and icons."

Jack: "I can tell you're lapping it up when I tell you about Mr. Sophistication: 'So Jack hears voices that order him to do this or do that! Jack must be psychotic!' I loath diagnosis that you can write down in words." Verge: "That's not fair. The words are clear; they look after us and create boundaries between good and evil, and they carry religion."
It seems like their dialogue mostly consists of stuff like this and I didn't find what they were saying to be insightful or interesting. For people who liked this movie: what did you get out of the conversations between Verge and Jack?
Last edited by Peter-H on Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#288 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:10 pm

Sounds like gobbledy-gook to me.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#289 Post by Never Cursed » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:01 pm

My take was that Jack’s philosophy towards his actions is indeed intelligent-sounding nonsense, and that Verge, through playing devil’s advocate to Jack and listening to his stories at length, has to contribute bizarre counterarguments against Jack’s rationalizations for violence.
SpoilerShow
To specifically address Verge’s quote in the spoiler box, how else would you ask someone to defend the value of words, definitions, and labels to someone who rejects all such things that aren’t self-bestowed? Verge is basically saying that they have value because they help define things in the abstract and they can carry valuable messages. Sure, he’s a little roundabout about it, but I agree with at least what Verge is saying there, which I think is the point.
The movie has nothing but contempt for Jack, his actions, and his philosophy, hence Verge’s presence as a walking rebuttal to Jack
SpoilerShow
and the movie’s casual (and hilarious) disposal of Jack.
EDIT: Very well said, Big Ben.
Last edited by Never Cursed on Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#290 Post by Big Ben » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:02 am

Regarding the final part of the film and what Verge says and does:
SpoilerShow
Verge makes an effort to show Jack the Elysian Fields, a place in Greek Mythology where only the greatest and most moral people in Greek Myth go when they die (As opposed to the more neutral Hades.) The only truly sincere emotion Jack shows in this film is here in this scene where a single tear flows down his face when he realizes he'll never be allowed in (Verge states as much.). For all his supposed greatness Jack cannot attain this, the ultimate reward. Most notably for me though is that Verge stresses that Jack is not actually condemened to the lowest form of hell and that he, in fact is several floors up. Jack, in his arrogance assumes he can escape his fate and he fails to climb around the precipice and falls into the depths of Hell (Or Tartarus if we're talking Greek Myth still.) by his own accord. This is interesting from a thematic standpoint because Jack is actually offered a better deal but through his own actions condemns himself to a more severe torment in the blackest pit there is. I cannot see that as anything other than a condemnation of his supposed superiority to others. Jack chose to do all these things because he felt superior and in the end his own philosophy folds in on itself. von Trier could have easily gone for an exceptionally nihilistic ending where Jack escaped any and all punishment (Something I frankly expected.) but he doesn't and the ending feels like the ultimate send up.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#291 Post by Peter-H » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:11 pm

SpoilerShow
At one point Jack weeps as he realizes he'll never go to the Elysian Fields, and later on Verge says that there used to be a bridge that leads to heaven but it no longer exists. I wonder if these moments represent Von Trier's relationship with religion: around the time of Breaking the Waves he identified as a catholic; of course he's known to be a troll, but he actually seems genuine here when he says that he wishes that he could be religious (presumably because it would give him an assurance that this isn't "all there is") but that he's tried and it didn't work out.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#292 Post by Never Cursed » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:03 pm

For those of you who are region-free and want to see this, remember that Artificial Eye's uncut blu-ray comes out tomorrow, March 4

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#293 Post by Big Ben » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:50 pm

On Roger Ebert's site there's a section called "The Unloved" where contributors talk about films they feel are well, unloved. Scout Tafoya has created a video essay about The House That Jack Built that runs just over thirteen minutes.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#294 Post by Noiretirc » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:10 am

Never Cursed wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:03 pm
For those of you who are region-free and want to see this, remember that Artificial Eye's uncut blu-ray comes out tomorrow, March 4
But again, at the risk of being annoying, is "uncut" the same thing as "Director's Cut" that we will likely see in a few months, a la Nymphomaniac?

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#295 Post by Never Cursed » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:15 am


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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#296 Post by Noiretirc » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:20 am

Well, damn! Thanks. Ordered.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#297 Post by black&huge » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:09 am

Quick music question:
SpoilerShow
the song that plays 2 hours and 15 minutes in (thats for the uncut runtime it starts at the part where Verge and Jack are first seen floating underwater before descending in those self contained bubbles) is that a well known classical piece or an original piece written for the film?

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#298 Post by Big Ben » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:20 am

black&huge wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:09 am
Quick music question:
Imdb lists all the musical classical pieces as follows, I hope this helps!

Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Glenn Gould

The Four Seasons - Autumn (Violin Concerto in F Major Opus 8, No.3, RV 293)
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
Performed by Takako Nishizaki, Capella Istropolitana and Stephen Gunzenhauser

Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Kristian Eidnes Andersen

Tristan und Isolde
Written by Richard Wagner
Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Arrangements by Kristian Eidnes Andersen

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#299 Post by Slaphappy » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:27 pm

Peter-H wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 4:16 am
To me Verge and Jack’s dialogue about art was almost gobbledegook. I thought it would be a My Dinner With Andre-esque conversation between a serial killer and Virgil but I got nothing out of those exchanges. Did anyone else?
Yeah, pure gobbledegook for me too. First it bothered me a bit, but then I thought, that maybe dialogue was not ment to be coherent or deeply philosophical and that it went really well with the movie’s laid-back attitude.

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Re: The House That Jack Built (Lars von Trier, 2018)

#300 Post by yoshimori » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:45 pm

> the song that plays 2 hours and 15 minutes in

That's the Bach Partita Big Ben pointed to. Presumably it's the film's composer (Kristian Eidnes Andersen) playing it on an organ.

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