I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE OF CINEMA : LARS VON TRIER
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 10/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After the death of Federico Fellini, Luis Bunuel and Andrei Tarkovsky and the terrible silence of Ingmar Bergman and Werner Herzog, there are very few first rate european directors still in activity. And among them, we find danish director Lars Von Trier. You can buy now in the Criterion collection his first movie ELEMENT OF CRIME, shot in 1984. ELEMENT OF CRIME is the confession, under hypnosis, of a german policeman to his aegyptian psychiatrist in Cairo. Suffering from severe headaches after a three months trip in Europa, the cop must find the cause of them in his memory. Then begins a journey in a near future Germany. Entirely shot in saturated yellow and orange tones, ELEMENT OF CRIME is a UFO in the european cinematographical production of the eighties. If you've liked the movies of Terry Gilliam, specially BRAZIL, you will certainly fall in love with ELEMENT OF CRIME. I really think that this movie is one of the best science-fiction movies ever made, without interstellar battles nor special effects. It's also an hallucinated thriller involving a serial killer whose victims are young lottery tickets sellers. Finally, you can see it as a surrealistic essay about Europa. With this Criterion release, you will have optional english subtitles (very useful), a theatrical trailer and a not-to-be missed 54 minutes documentary about Lars Von Trier with interviews of the danish author-director and the people who have worked with him. I was literally hypnotized by this documentary. Don't be the last ones to discover this new Master, Movie History is written right in front of your eyes. You just have to consider ELEMENT OF CRIME as A DVD for your library."
Impressive film-noir in a squalid, post-apocalypse Europe
wdanthemanw | 09/01/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Element of Crime, the feature film debut of Danish director Lars Von Triel, is the story of Fischer (Elphick), an ex-cop who returns home after 13 years abroad to solve a series of murders. The victims were young girls, all hideously mutilated and the murders continue even though the perpetrator is (apparently) dead. He uses the methods of his aging mentor's book, "The Element of Crime", to enter the mind of the criminal, assuming his persona and retracing - or re-enacting - his steps in order to find him. I was fortunate enough to see this English language Danish film not long ago and found it thoroughly engrossing. Comparisons to Blade Runner are natural, but superficial - Element of Crime focuses much more on intrigue and plot development than special effects or a vision of a futuristic dystopia. It is more of a "traditional" noir in that respect, and Von Triel using the camera as a narrative device to explain almost as much as the dialog could hope to. A little bewildering at first and the minimal use of colour throughout might deter some people, but still an excellent and thought-provoking film."
The first major groundbreaking picture by Lars von Trier
Morten Soerensen | San Francisco | 06/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This incredible movie paints a picture of a deteriorating Europe through the eyes of a cop.The cinematography pre-dates the '90s dogme movement that Lars von Trier also established, but even this first major picture by this leading director shows how to use cinematography for maximum impact: The film has a yellow tint that further enhances the experience of a deranged, sad, lonely Europe.Though Lars von Trier is Danish, the movie is done in English, so it should have wider appeal -- check it out! I saw it for the first time 15 years ago, and I've anxiously been awaiting the DVD release of this ground-breaking movie!"
A Must for Von Trier Fans
M. Fletcher | Phoenix, Arizona USA | 12/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Original, cutting edge, and riveting. All what you'd expect from this film pioneer that breaks all the rules to redefine modern cinema. Love him or hate him, he's a breath of fresh air in the stale state of current self-absorbed, independent films, not to mention the never ending studpiditiy of Hollywood rehash. One can't help but compare this title to "Blade Runner", though I believe it makes Ridely Scotts film look like a Disney movie. Cross references throughout include homage to "Apocalypse Now", with equal success at capturing the creepy feel of great film noir classics such as "The Big Sleep". Von Trier creates a whole new world with nothing less then amazing sets and locations. One can only guess where or how he came up wiht these sites. No doubt Von Trier is to current cinema what David Lynch was to film in the 80's. It seems to all come easy to him, but thats just what'd you'd expect from such a great master who's still far ahead of his time."