Starring: Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel
Directed By: Lars von Trier (The Element Of Crime; Dancer In The Dark)
Overview: Part biopic, part thriller, we follow scriptwriters Lars and Niels as they write a screenplay about a plague that ironically shares synchronicity with an actual disease that is soon to sweep Europe.
Acting: Having a director in a film doesn't make it better. Lars plays the protagonist in this, his story's doctor as well as Lars the screenwriter, and oddly enough the second role played seems less natural. When playing yourself in front of a camera I guess it can be more than you might want others to see, which invites the question: why did you allow yourself to be so prominent in your own film?
Cinematography: I found it unique enough to have the title come up in the upper left-hand corner of the screen as the credits appeared at the bottom. But Lars was a complete moron when he left the Epidemic© title there for the whole duration of the film. Not cool, not art, just stupid. What is the artistic significance of keeping a big red title there during a black and white, grainy, low-budget, art-house and mildly pretentious film? There's some neat looking scenes from time to time, but ultimately, Europa Trilogy II is not such a great visual experience that you need the title emblazoned in your memory for the entire time. As if!
Script: Natural normal everyday blather, an interesting lesson in wine tasting when a professional shows up, way too many scenes of people laughing. Quite a weak script, especially the part where the hypnotist shows up. God, I never realized how bland this was 'til just now.
Plot: I love you Lars but this is the worst work I've ever seen of yours. It wasn't compelling, it wasn't fun, it was like you took the experiences you had while developing a film that wasn't quite a feature and added those life-events in the film to make up for time. It seemed lazy, rather than art... of course art can be lazy too, not to piss off any other purveyors of lazy art out there.
Mood: There's this part near the end where they're all having dinner and then suddenly the 'special guest' arrives, a guy in a monkey suit of a tux and some pudgy plain young woman. The man in the tux goes on to hypnotise the lady and 'puts her in the movie'. She's all freaking out, talking about people dying in the streets (since it's a story about an epidemic). I guess it's a way of selling the script to the producer, but seriously, who on earth brings in a hypnotist to pitch your film idea to someone? What is this freaky garbage? Instead of that, why not show what the fictional disease actually DOES to people? DUH.
Aftertaste: I was so looking forward to the little know Larsian films, and after Element Of Crime I knew that I'd be enjoying all his works. Oops. Maybe the beginning of this story is all too true to life: they're having a producer over to pitch their script to them and it gets deleted somewhere along the way, so they make up a new story, not even close to being part-way finished.
Seems that this was a very weak effort.