Film Review | The House That Jack Built is Relentlessly Boring

The House that Jack Built is ostensibly a film where Matt Dillon’s Jack kills a bunch of people in horrific ways. This is a metaphor for art because making art is somehow a lot like cutting the breasts off a screaming woman or shooting two kids in front of their mother. At least it is in the mind of Lars Von Trier.

This piece of art certainly seems built not just to depict but to inflict suffering; in this case on the audience that Von Trier despises with an intensity that’s only matched by his self regard. The experience is one of tedium above all. Yes, it’s tedium interspersed with horror and the odd exasperated sigh (if you can not roll your eyes and make a wanking motion when the film cuts from a murder to a pianist with VO telling us ‘he represents art’ or when the killer’s nickname becomes ‘Mr Sophistication’ you’re a stronger willed viewer than me) but it’s grindingly, relentlessly boring nonetheless.

At it’s heart ‘The House that Jack Built’ is a two and a half hour attempt by Lars Von Trier to provoke nothing other than more conversations about Lars Von Trier. I’m not doing that. The film is bad. End of review.

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Now some trivia and thoughts to pad out the word count and cleanse your palate.

There is a wild wallaby population on Lambay Island in Dublin. They were introduced in the 1950’s by the most assuredly insane landowner after unsuccessful attempts at colonising the tiny island with some particularly unlucky peacocks, emus and other exotic wildlife. The marsupials, however, survived the experiment and Dublin Zoo even shipped over some surplus animals in the 80’s. Now the population seems healthy just off the coast of the capital.

After her government was found to be in contempt of Parliament Theresa May could get locked up inside Big Ben as the most British punishment ever. Well, technically she’d be locked in a cell underneath the clock tower but, still, this is proof that half remembering a Harry Potter movie that you once saw on a plane and owning one of those ‘Keep Calm’ tea towels will probably give you an accurate image of what the UK is like in 2018.

An Irish spin on the werewolf myth, the ‘Werewolves of Ossory’ pop up in folklore and medieval writing. The ‘Topographia Hibernica’ by the Norman Gerald of Wales tells one story in which a priest is asked by a talking wolf to give his dying mate the last rites as they have been cursed to stay in wolf form for seven years. More recently they’ve popped up in neighbouring Tipperary with a sighting in 1999 near Rear Cross. In another Tipp based, 1913 sighting two boys heard growling behind a wall. On looking over, they saw a man with a bear like head. The creature then, according to the peer reviewed, scientific journal called cryptidz.wikia.com ‘rudely said ‘Don’t talk to me”. Spooky!

The House that Jack Built is out December 14. There will be a preview on December 12 in the Light House Cinema featuring a pre-recorded interview with Von Trier.


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