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Overall Rating
4.51

Awesome68.21%
Worth A Look: 24.5%
Average: 1.99%
Pretty Bad: 0.66%
Total Crap: 4.64%

10 reviews, 91 user ratings


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Dancer in the Dark
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by Thom

"Zentropa was less fussy and way broodier."
4 stars

Were these the honest performances so touted by the Dogma 95 group? Natural lighting, lots of improvisation, minimal camera work. Except for the musical numbers, which featured 100 cameras. But then this is a movie starring Bjork. Its the madonna rule. no rock singers in a film unless said rock singer IS the soundtrack.

And it could have just become a vehicle for Bjork, but Catherine Deneuve was in it as well. and she's like big name French actress right there.

It ended up being an ensemble piece. and the performances that Von Trier is legendary for wrenching out of his actors was sort of there. I think there is some private artsy fartsy international cinema club where people get really excited about concepts that are better left played with by college students and radically experimental film makers. Maybe the once actors now celebrities who are already culturally sophisticated just because they are foreign want to get that authentic acting experience again.

Its a good movie though, and a great story and lots of great dialogue and improbably labyrinthine plot points.

Its NOT a musical except by default. The character Bjork plays, Selma, often daydreams when she hears the rythym of the machinery in the factory where she works. During these moments of reverie, we are taken inside Selma's head where she sings and dances. She likes musicals because "nothing dreadful ever happens in a musical."

Joel Grey (Caberet) plays a dancer in this film. I thought that was cute.

This film could only have been made by people who knew people who wondered if anyone was doing anything and if they wanted to come play with the Dogma 95 principals and make a big splash at Cannes and be celebrated for their artsy fartsyness. Which is just what happened. Bjork won the Palm D'or for being ultra-cool.

There were moments where it seemed like everyone enjoyed being on the screen and other times when, knowing what I know about how the film was made (von Trier likes to use psychological manipulation to let a natural energy build in a scene. That used to be called Method Acting. And its the reason Bjork has said she'll never act again. She hated what Von Trier was doing. And she is an artist who knows plenty about the vagueries of the human spirit and how to conjure emotion.) there were other times when people looked as if they had been put on the spot and were trying desperately to get that visceral, heart-pounding transmittal of being completely in the moment with your character but felt as if they weren't quite getting there but it was all being filmed and there wouldn't be a second take.

Masochistic Actors. But everyone at Cannes loved it and it IS a good movie but it is also trying to DO something and it was made just as much for Von Trier and the actors ensemble as it was for a potential audience. The Trying To Do Something part didn't always do. I think there were times when the communication among the actors as they were trying to improvise and create energy just plain broke down .

But so what. Bjork is in it. I'm not going to take myself as seriously as a critic as this film took itself seriously as capital C cinema. There are a few Bjork videos embedded in the plot. That was cool. The film did focus on the actors rather than the lights and sound, except for the musical numbers. four of them. Nothing was really dressed up, there was no glamour, except for Linda, played by Cara Seymour (she has other screen credits, I swear), whose character was supposed to be starletesque. She's also a fine actor.

The last thing I have to say is that this movie didn't move me at all. I was fascinated by it, but I was detached emotionally from what was happening on the screen. and I don't know why because shit like this usually gets to me. Maybe it was the apparent phoniness of scenes that kept breaking me out of the my bubble of disbelief. Maybe it was because I knew I was watching Bjork. Maybe it was the "kill me, kill me, Selma" that wanted to make me laugh because I felt like the guy who was playing Bill didn't really know who the hell Bill was and played him like a cardboard cut-out.

I am Bill, I want Selma to kill me.kill me Selma, kill me.

like janet and mark. if anyone remembers janet and mark. two caucasion kids with plenty to learn about speaking in compound sentences. See Janet. See Mark. See Janet kill Mark. Kill Janet Kill!

so yeah, bring the kids, family entertainment for the entire family. at theatres everywhere.

The End.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4503&reviewer=67
originally posted: 10/10/00 18:02:25
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User Comments

5/16/17 Louise How can a film with Bjork & Deneuve be so absolutely appalling? Hated it. 1 stars
3/23/14 PAUL SHORTT AUDACIOUS MUSICAL-DRAMA WITH A GOOD STAR PERFORMANCE 3 stars
1/25/14 Taco Town So powerful! Bjork deserved an Oscar 5 stars
11/26/12 Joel An utter masterpiece of cinema 5 stars
7/23/08 R.W. Welch Innovative, but too overtly maudlin to have much impact. 3 stars
3/14/08 A.l. Green A trulr memorable and mesmerising film. Bjork is brilliant in this film 5 stars
10/06/06 wei it is a brilliant film i have ever seen. 5 stars
12/17/05 K. Sear A beautifully traumatising film. 5 stars
11/01/05 nikola charles tatum your comment is so idiotic and pretencious and you are a stupid moron 5 stars
7/31/05 yuko makes you think 5 stars
7/19/05 Brian A very misunderstood film and WORTH its hype for ONCE! 5 stars
11/24/04 me powerful film, plus bjork rocks 5 stars
8/28/04 Abu the best movie for the millennium 5 stars
5/24/04 Daveman Fascinating film, doesn't need to be as "heartbreaking" as it's said to be (which it isn't) 5 stars
3/06/04 milko ramirez such a very very good musical, still i can stop cry 5 stars
1/14/04 Julia The wierdest musical I've ever seen with a conclusion that left me sobbing. 5 stars
1/02/04 mooglee this movie isn't for losers 5 stars
12/29/03 I Would Another masterpiece from Lars Von Trier. Even better than Breaking The Waves. 5 stars
12/27/03 Charles Tatum What's worse: Buhjork's awful songs or this shaky Dogma direction crap? 1 stars
12/25/03 paul heslep outstanding... far deeper than it might first appear 5 stars
12/08/03 Jeremy painful but incredible. nothing quite like it..plus bjork is hot.. 5 stars
9/28/03 Adnan Baysal It was the best movie I've seen 5 stars
7/11/03 harris Bjork's talent as an actress almost matches her music. 5 stars
3/19/03 Jack Sommersby Chance-taking yet just-plain unwatchable artsy garbage. Bjork's bush next time, please. 1 stars
2/19/03 Michael Lefebvre This Movie was a disgrace to musicals through all of time. Bjork was terrible! 1 stars
2/07/03 natasha_theobald wrenching drama with exceptional performances and moving moments 5 stars
1/01/03 Andy Todes bjork. most talented female alive? yepadoodle. 5 stars
12/28/02 grardo wow 5 stars
12/25/02 Goofy Maxwell Get outta yo' funk: no dance grooves here, only Bjork's primal screams healing the pain. 5 stars
11/20/02 Ionicera brilliant and sad if a little contrived 4 stars
10/18/02 Elizaveta a real film. 5 stars
10/06/02 moestifer aagghhrrr the pain! embrace the pain! 5 stars
9/26/02 Ross Santos It is very unpredictable and astonishing! such power!!! 5 stars
9/14/02 Eddie Pinietti This toon is fuckin' MINT (but I am biased, being a Bjorkite for several years' time) 5 stars
2/23/02 Unanon Weird and dark. Bjork's music blends beautifully with this rather pathetic story. Gorgeous 5 stars
12/10/01 maja go see"braking the waves",forget this movie! 2 stars
9/30/01 daniboy Easily 2000's best film (and best actress). Academy voters can go fuck themselves 5 stars
9/08/01 dazzza groundbreaking arthouse filmaking at its best,challenge you not to cry at the end 5 stars
8/14/01 shankster One of the 5 best films ever made. No, I'm fucking serious. See it! Now! 5 stars
7/06/01 Bluesblasts this is how film should be . an astonishing work of art . embrace björk . love von Trier' . 5 stars
7/05/01 keren azugi amazing 5 stars
6/28/01 Bokonan very moving 5 stars
6/27/01 Gizzy So heartbreaking, depressing, devastating...but oh so good 5 stars
6/07/01 Basil Bjork is amazing. 5 stars
5/14/01 Steve best movie of 2000 4 stars
5/10/01 de urooj i love sex and fucking 1 stars
5/07/01 The Bomb 69 Bjork should have won the Oscar, not even getting nominated was a travesty 5 stars
4/22/01 pennywise you just wanted to help her, protect her-made me cry 5 stars
4/01/01 Frankly Wow. I was amazed--such a powerful movie, hidden behind a small guise of depression. 5 stars
3/28/01 Alice Soares BRILLIANT- UNLIKE HOLLYWOOD TRIPE 5 stars
3/28/01 Larissa Rojas it´s the greatest movie I have ever seen 5 stars
3/27/01 Surprised Viewer Fascinating combination of a musical and drama. I was deeply moved by the ending. 4 stars
3/26/01 John Hall extraordinary if you can appreciate a perspective outside of normalcy 5 stars
3/23/01 greensweater annoying drivel 1 stars
3/22/01 Royce Vavrek absolutely fabulous 5 stars
3/19/01 J.Arcane A mighty film - top3 film of 2000 5 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Sad, at times manipulative, with a touching performance from pop star Bjork. 4 stars
2/14/01 LOOBER One of the best foreign films of 2000 5 stars
1/31/01 msalq sa 5 stars
1/12/01 Belinda Emanuel Dancer in the Dark is a fresh cinematic experience if want to see some very powerful perfo 4 stars
1/09/01 matthew smith a staggering experience 4 stars
1/06/01 Viking Bjork is simply awesome !!! 5 stars
1/02/01 B. v. Wonderen superb acting of bjork she is really the best 5 stars
12/20/00 Nina an absolute cinematic masterpeice 5 stars
12/06/00 Silvia Probably the most amazing movie I've seen! 5 stars
12/05/00 David Feltl Great, though, for me, not as strong as Breaking The Waves 5 stars
11/19/00 Joan van der Lingen it really touched me, as it did the friends i saw it with. 5 stars
11/15/00 Stacie Unlike anything I have seen... reality-altering experience! 5 stars
11/15/00 Tony Jenkins Haunting. Unforgettable. 5 stars
11/14/00 Heather Weird & wonderful movie, absolute mindf*ck of an ending 5 stars
11/13/00 carol White Absolutely the best film I have seen... I went a s 5 stars
11/12/00 J.P. Couch Wonderful;excellent;amazing!!! 5 stars
11/07/00 mike lambie refreshing, bold, good wake-up to reality, wonderful to exercise many emotions 5 stars
11/07/00 Ethan is not like wow, its like woooow!!! 5 stars
11/01/00 Joel Lueders Oh my god, i didnt think it would touch me, as it went on.. But then I was taken over. 5 stars
11/01/00 Tom Rogers Takes far more than it returns 1 stars
10/29/00 jette bjork is incredible, fabulous, brilliant, with a voice like god? 5 stars
10/25/00 naz ok 3 stars
10/23/00 gil gilad superb, a masterpiece & a must !!!!! 5 stars
10/22/00 Mel Russell THis film is one of the best of all time, don't miss it! 5 stars
10/21/00 yihong yao not your unual type of happy hollywood movies. strong performance and direction 5 stars
10/21/00 Johnny Figaro Rewarding, exhausting, exhilarating... truly original art. 5 stars
10/19/00 Robert Cruickshank Good lord what a great film. 5 stars
10/18/00 Maarten Delmotte Absolutely breathtaking - sigh 5 stars
10/17/00 za Disturbing and memorable. Makes you think for days. 5 stars
10/10/00 Jeffrey A. Haas Dancer in the Dark is a post-modern masterpiece.It's innovative, daring, exhilarating! 5 stars
10/08/00 HobieKen Fantastic film. A very rare, truely original experience. 5 stars
10/08/00 skye chapman not for your average american film consumer (and that's good!) 4 stars
10/08/00 syd the feel-good mvie of the year! 5 stars
10/02/00 gil gilad unique & great, a masterpiece & a must see. 5 stars
9/19/00 engin dazzling! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Oct-2000 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Dec-2000 (MA)


Directed by
  Lars Von Trier

Written by
  Lars Von Trier

Cast
  Bjork
  Catherine Deneuve
  Joel Grey
  Udo Kier
  David Morse
  Peter Stormare



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