Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Deconstructing/reconstructing films like this must be great fun for film-makers, especially when, like here, they have the money to do it properly. But is such self-indulgence fun for outsiders like me? Well, to an extent, yes. I like games, and this was a kind of game: make it as difficult as you can to remake the film, by imposing all sorts of restrictions. "The Five Obstructions" starts really well: there's dramatic tension in the meeting of the two directors, and the challenge is tough. The original film, "The Perfect Human", is a good candidate for this sort of treatment, too, being so sparse. But perhaps unsurprisingly, once the first challenge has been met, it's all downhill from there. Von Trier runs out of ideas (IMO) and the experiment gradually runs out of steam.

    What irritated me most, though, was Von Trier's attitude. At first it seemed that he and Leth were buddies having a bit of (sado-masochistic) fun together. But in the end I was left with the impression that Von Trier was patronising Leth, kind of trying to help out an old has-been as a thank-you for all the inspiration he'd taken from him in his early days. I found this a bit rich, considering that Leth is an archetype of cool, and far and away the star of the film. Next to him, Von Trier just came across as an upstart nerd.