Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1

Rated 1.0

For me, there's no denying that writer-director Lars von Trier is a true talent. Melancholia, Antichrist and Dancer in the Dark represent some of the best bizarre cinema this side of David Lynch. His other offerings, like Dogville and Breaking the Waves, are not favorites of mine, but I still see them as respectable offerings. But now there is this, a despicably bad attempt at shock cinema that represents the very worst in sensationalistic, lazy-assed filmmaking. The film is about Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) a confessed nymphomaniac found bleeding in the gutter by a kind soul (Stellan Skarsgard) who takes her back to his apartment. After a cup of tea, Joe starts telling her sad story, a boring framing device that rips off The Princess Bride. Played by Stacy Martin in flashback, we see Joe's sad, humiliating story as she recounts her outrageous sexual escapades and supposed emotional problems. This movie is hard to watch, featuring nothing that stands out as original or genuinely provocative. It comes off as desperate filmmaking, with von Trier laboring to shock his audience, something never before evident in his prior films. Only Uma Thurman shines as a jilted wife, blistering the screen in what feels like a well-improvised moment. The rest of the movie is just stuff like Christian Slater crapping himself and Shia LaBeouf naked. A total piece of garbage, and it is only part one of the saga. Part two is coming out right on its heels, so God help us all. (Available for rent on VOD, iTunes and Amazon.com during a limited theatrical run.)