AntichristOnly the most loyal Lars von Trier fans should seek out 'Antichrist,' a disturbingly violent film featuring extreme scenes of graphic sex and self-mutilation of the most private of parts. The film was the scandal of this year's Cannes Film Festival, where it prompted boos, walkouts and angry complaints -- as well as some raves. It's been called "torture porn" and its most infamous scenes rival the levels of sadism in any 'Saw' flick. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg have been praised for their intense, literally naked performances -- but even the film's supporters agree it's hard to watch. Is this a brave exercise in pushing the boundaries of film or a pretentious descent into shock cinema? Either way, the film's audience remains an extremely limited one, which is just what Von Trier intends. Check out reviews after the jump. AntichristOnly the most loyal Lars von Trier fans should seek out 'Antichrist,' a disturbingly violent film featuring extreme scenes of graphic sex and self-mutilation of the most private of parts. The film was the scandal of this year's Cannes Film Festival, where it prompted boos, walkouts and angry complaints -- as well as some raves. It's been called "torture porn" and its most infamous scenes rival the levels of sadism in any 'Saw' flick. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg have been praised for their intense, literally naked performances -- but even the film's supporters agree it's hard to watch. Is this a brave exercise in pushing the boundaries of film or a pretentious descent into shock cinema? Either way, the film's audience remains an extremely limited one, which is just what Von Trier intends. Check out reviews below.

The New York Post: "Lars von Trier might not be, as he famously boasted in Cannes, 'the best director in the world.' But, as witnessed by his 'Antichrist,' he certainly is one of them. [The film] scandalized Cannes, which isn't easily scandalized, with its explicit sexual violence. Very few actors would have the courage to allow von Trier to put them through what Dafoe and Gainsbourg experienced in the name of art ... but as somebody (the Marquis de Sade, perhaps) once said: No pain, no gain."

Roger Ebert: "I know what's in it for von Trier. What was in it for me? More than anything else, I responded to the performances. Both Dafoe and Gainsbourg have been risk takers, as anyone working with von Trier must be. The ways they're called upon to act in this film are extraordinary."

Entertainment Weekly: "Lars von Trier, once a gravely exciting artist ('Breaking the Waves'), has reduced himself to the status of a quixotically perverse publicity freak. 'Antichrist,' his latest fake outrage, is an art-house couples-therapy torture-porn horror film ... The impotent folly of 'Antichrist' is that von Trier has made it his mission to shock the bourgeoisie in an era when they can no longer be shocked."

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USA Today: "'Antichrist' is probably the most disturbing, bleak and self-indulgent film ever made. Ultra-explicit in its gruesome depiction of self-mutilation and torture and excruciating in its slow pacing and pointless visual digressions, the film seems intent on making the audience miserable."

Variety: "Lars von Trier cuts a big fat art-film fart with 'Antichrist.' As if deliberately courting critical abuse, the Danish bad boy densely packs this theological-psychological horror opus with grotesque, self-consciously provocative images that might have impressed even Hieronymus Bosch ... Traveling deep into NC-17 territory, this may prove a great date movie for pain-is-pleasure couples. Otherwise, most of the director's usual fans will find this outing risible, off-putting or both."

The New York Times: "The scandal of 'Antichrist' is not that it is grisly or upsetting but that it is so ponderous, so conceptually thin and so dull. ... [A] talking fox has given the movie a handy catchphrase -- 'Chaos reigns!' -- but a more apt one is delivered by Ms. Gainsbourg among bouts of howling, sobbing and penis smashing: 'None of this is any use at all.'"

The Wall Street Journal: "This isn't a pretend horror flick, with violence you can shrug off or laugh off. The extent of the violence is ... deeply, deeply disturbing. My first -- and then frequent -- instinct was the emotional equivalent of duck-and-cover: ... But both actors have given themselves over to the filmmaker's vision with performances that had me feeling like Malcolm McDowell in 'A Clockwork Orange,' horrified yet unable to look away. ... By turns repellent, powerful and ludicrous, 'Antichrist' piles horror on horror with pitiless passion."
CATEGORIES Reviews, Fall Movies