The story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of twelve years, and depicts the murders that really develop his inner madman.The story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of twelve years, and depicts the murders that really develop his inner madman.The story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of twelve years, and depicts the murders that really develop his inner madman.
'The House That Jack Built' was fairly brutal, yet oddly comical (if you can look past the disturbing material) and widely entertaining. I was not expecting it to be as funny as it was considering all of the 'hype' around the film's dark brutality since its screening at Cannes. Having said that there are some extremely gruesome and disturbing scenes which are effective in what they set out to do.
The film is divided into 5 sections plus an epilogue. A strange structure but ultimately I think that it benefited the film as we see a slight progression of Jack's character throughout. Though it can feel a bit repetitive at points, it never gets boring and is continuously engaging. Matt Dillon was excellent as the truly psychopathic serial killer Jack. It was honestly probably the best role I've seen him in (seriously, he should be in more movies).
There are many philosophical discussions about the nature of art throughout the film. This can either come off as super pretentious or can actually add to the film. I thought it worked fine in the context of the film as it relates very much to the character of Jack and how he views himself and his, so to say, 'art'
The film portrays the violence in a fairly realistic manner and does not hold back. At all. Seriously, the movie is not for the faint of heart. But it never came across as gratuitous or 'edgy'. It felt like Trier was just showing us what these scenarios would look like if a serial killer viewed his killings as art.
If you're a fan of Trier's work then definitely try and see this one. Even if you're just a fan of disturbing art-films, check it out. It has a screening at VIFF in October but other than that I have no idea where you can see it. Surprisingly, the Atlantic Film Festival (Halifax, Nova Scotia) had a one-night screening for the film. Either way, try and see it if it looks interesting to you. I highly recommend it. 9/10.
- Sep 19, 2018