Tag Archives: kirsten dunst

Trailer: Upside Down (2012)

UK release date March 15.

Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Jim Sturgess and Agnieshka Wnorowska

Adam and Eden fell in love as teens despite the fact that they live on twinned worlds with gravities that pull in opposite directions. Ten years after a forced separation, Adam sets out on a dangerous quest to reconnect with his love.

Directed by Juan Solanas.

Running time not yet released.

 

Melancholia (2011)

“I smile, and I smile, and I smile.”

Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland

Thanks to a massive planet called Melancholia soaring through space and heading for Earth, the end of the world is near and there’s nowhere to hide.

Melancholia debuted at the Cannes Film Festival just as The Tree of Life did. Both tackling issues about the universe and the course of human nature, it’s exciting to see how each film approached the subject.

Melancholia is split into two halves, the first being ‘Justine’. Primarily focused on the wedding reception of newlyweds Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård), we are introduced to Justine’s dysfunctional family. Filmed in a documentary-like way by a hand held camera, we watch as this just-married couple appears to be tearing at the seams already. As Justine’s estranged parents openly argue in front of the guests, her disapproving mother (Charlotte Rampling) announces: ‘I wasn’t at the church – I don’t believe in marriage’. Far from the idyllic setting that a wedding reception would usually take, it appears this marriage was doomed from the get go. As Justine runs around the grounds becoming evermore depressed and desperate, there is no doubt she is an unstable girl with some deep setting issues (which normally makes for good film).

The second half of the film is labelled ‘Claire’. Occurring maybe a few weeks after Justine’s car crash of a wedding reception, this half centres around Justine’s dull and monotonous sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her husband, John (Kiefer Sutherland). After the quick dissolution of her marriage, Justine moves in with Claire who insists she needs to be with family while Melancholia passes by Earth. However as time passes, the rogue planet appears to be closer to Earth than ever before, so we watch on as the end of the world becomes more of an imminent threat.

Melancholia is quite a depressing concept for a film but one that has a lot of potential to explore humanity, right down to our faith and hope in times of, literally, impending death. While I loved The Tree of Life, Melancholia feels like less of an achievement to me. Yes, some scenes are beautifully shot, but it’s so boring to watch. I expected a bit of excitement and a sense of frantic desperation but with such a boring cast – excluding Dunst who at times had me gripped – it was hard to stay interested for 2 and a half hours.

Though it has been praised for it’s artistic direction and sense of humanity, it didn’t feel new or evolutionary. The characters weren’t as fired up as I’d have been if this were to happen in real life, so how can we take this as a real depiction? No character’s reaction resembles that of a real person’s to news so huge like the end of the world, maybe perhaps Sutherland’s, but even that was underwhelming.

While I get it’s meant to be a beautiful, artistic depiction of the end of the world and on some level, a sense of realisation and acceptance that nothing else can be done, Melancholia was boring and uninspired. Lars von Trier rallied up more interest and questionable thoughts from me when he made those comments about Hitler in his press conference for Melancholia.

Star rating:   6.5/10

Directed by Lars von Trier.

Running time 136 minutes.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

“Can you hear me? I don’t want this any more! I want to call it off!”

Cast: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet and Tom Wilkinson

Sunshine follows two people, Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski, who seem to meet by pure coincidence on a Long Island Rail Road train. Although very different in personality, they seem inexplicably drawn to each other, soul mates even.

We soon discover they were former lovers and after two years together, they had a massive fight and decided to break up. Shortly after their split though, Clementine decided to hire the New York City firm Lacuna, Inc. that specialise in removing people from memories. After Joel discovers this he is devastated and, most likely out of spite, decides to undergo treatment to have all traces of Clementine removed from his memory too.

The film focuses on Joel as he has his memory wiped but tries desperately to cling on to just one memory of Clementine as he revisits all the happier times in their relationship. In addition to this, there is also another story arc that focuses on the people who work in the Lacuna, Inc. firm, adding to the intricacies of the story.

The characters are great, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood and Tom Wilkinson all do a fantastic job, yet I have to say I’ve never seen Carey any better.  He seems to balance his comical side with a seriousness that makes Joel a very loveable character. Winslet’s acting goes without saying, she is one of the best of our generation and her role in Sunshine is no different. Her character is very fascinating, wanting attention but craving affection at the same time, it’s obvious why Joel is so attracted to her.

The concept behind Sunshine is one that is interesting and dangerous, making you question whether you would undergo treatment to ever have someone erased from your mind. It really enforces the importance of somebody’s role in your life, and shows that however insignificant they may seem, they can have more of an effect on your life than you may realise.

The script is original, quirky and interesting. Even though it may be overlooked and cast aside for an action film or for something that did better at the box office, it really does deserve a watch.

Star rating:   7/10

Directed by Michel Gondry.

Running time 108 minutes.