Saturday, November 8, 2008

Accomplishment #001: The Element of Crime

Director: Lars Von Trier
Edition: Criterion DVD

The first film for the experiment was certainly a bizarre one. Lars Von Trier's first feature film is a heavily art directed neo-noir that takes place is some odd dystopian future where it is always night and everything is lit by sodium lamps (with the occasional bright green fluorecent thrown in for contrast). Von Trier's use of sodium light gives the entire film a monochromatic sepia tone where white is yellow, blacks are a dark brown and rainy streets seems to run thick with heavy arterial blood.

Here's a brief synopsis (I don't like spoilers so I'll always try my hardest to avoid them):
A cop named Fisher sees a therapist in order to unlock supressed memories from his last case. After the opening scene the entire story plays out as a flashback; occasionally the therapists voice coming through to remind us of this.
Fisher returns to "Europe" to work a murder case earily similiar to a series of murders from years back. On his return he finds his mentor, Osborne has been disgraced and is on the verge of sinility. Fisher decides to embrace the teachings of his aging mentor as layed out in Osborne's book "The Element of Crime", the basics of which call for Fisher to think and act like the killer. As the investigation goes on the lines defining the difference between Fisher and the killer begin to blur.
I have to admit I was pretty exhausted when I viewed the film last night so I feel like I'm going to give this one another go sometime soon. I'm sure I missed a few things. Hell, with how odd this film was if I was 100% alert I would have missed a few things. I'd love to get someone's perspective on some of the abstract imagery and ideas in this film. Why the dead horse and the little horse heads as the killer's signature? What the hell was with the frustrating cup handles that always came off when Fisher was trying to drink something? Why the post dubbing on the dialogue? Was this an intentional effect, or just a neccesity because of the low budget?

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