Lars von Trier has caused quite a ruckus, inducing both walk-outs and standing ovations.
The film shows Jack (played by Matt Dillon), who is telling his story about his murdering career to an interviewer.
The problem, to the people that walked out, is that the film was entirely full of torture, basically.
BBC‘s synopsis said the following:
“He drones on about why his crimes count as art, and he even nicknames himself Mr Sophistication. But von Trier makes it clear that he is actually a doofus. In wide-rimmed glasses, and with his slab of a face cracked by gormless puzzlement, Dillon is excellent in the role of the uncomfortable Jack: a neurotic blunderer who manages to kill over 60 people only because he is so absurdly lucky and the local police are so absurdly inept – and, perhaps, because the world is a fundamentally uncaring place.”
While that somewhat reminds me of ‘American Psycho,’ to the reviewers note from BBC, shares that Lars von Trier basically is trying to destroy the serial killer genre with this film.
Vulture, however, had a different take:
“As it turns out, the film’s most offensive qualities have nothing to do with its grotesque violence and displays of human mutilation, but its terminal navel-gazing and reductive, borderline harmful ideas about art. In some respects, Lars von Trier seems to only know how to make films about himself anymore; rarely has the work been so hermetic and lifeless.”
Another note is his feeling against women. Vulture notes that “At one point his guide remarks how disproportionately his victims tend to be women — and women that Jack seems to think are pretty stupid, at that. One of the more unfortunate sequences involves Riley Keough as another girlfriend (how does Jack find these women? We’ll never know.) whom Jack has taken to calling “Simple.” Because she’s so dumb, you see. It’s a hateful, ugly sequence…”
The tweets from reporters speak for themselves:
The Independent even took to rounding up some commentary:
The Telegraph – Robbie Collin – 2 stars
“…The House That Jack Built… is two and a half hours of self-reflexive torture porn with an entire McDonald’s warehouse of chips on its shoulder, and a handful of genuinely provocative ideas which, exasperatingly, go nowhere much.”
The Guardian – Peter Bradshaw – 2 stars
“[von Trier’s] latest tongue-in-cheek nightmare The House That Jack Built is two and a half hours long but seems much longer – longer than Bayreuth, more vainglorious than Bayreuth. It is an ordeal of gruesomeness and tiresomeness that was every bit as exasperating as I had feared.”