Nymphomaniac Vol. 2 | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Nymphomaniac Vol. 2 

Coitus continuous and a frustrating climax

Pin It
Favorite
Nymphomaniac Vol. 2
  • Nymphomaniac Vol. 2

When we left Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, we’d been stopped cold in the middle of an ongoing narrative with damaged, ravenously sexual Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) relating her life story to the bookish, introverted Seligman (Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd). So what happens as we wrap it all up in a bondage knot?

The cumulative build-up of von Trier’s story truly becomes clear as the story moves on to Joe’s life after having a baby with her closest-thing-to-a-true-love, Jerome (Shia LaBeouf). Joe’s quest for some kind of sensation after becoming sexually numb eventually leads her to a man (Jamie Bell) who dominates her in various S&M scenarios. And if violence against women makes you squeamish … well, you probably should never watch a Lars von Trier film.

The frustrating conclusion of Nymphomaniac, however, has less to do with von Trier’s characteristic journeying into extremes than with digressing from what made the story most intriguing in the first place. There’s far less of the interaction between Joe and Seligman, which frames the juxtaposition between Joe’s self-judgment and Seligman’s matter-of-fact absorbing of her stories as just another bit of data to add to his mental library. It strays even farther when the conclusion focuses on Joe’s new career as an organized crime collector, and her relationship with a young protégé (Mia Goth). With only isolated exceptions, von Trier loses sight of his daring questioning of where and why we draw our sexual morality lines in the sand, and how we respond to our desires.

Perhaps the final moments of Nymphomaniac circle around to that idea perfectly. Then again, maybe it’s just the hugely frustrating punch line to some shaggy-dog joke. Either way, it might be a lot easier to judge the film in its entirety, rather than catching up with Vol. 2 merely to discover it’s quite an anti-climax.

NYMPHOMANIAC VOL. 2

2_5_stars.gif

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård
Not Rated

Twitter: @ScottRenshaw

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of , ,

  • Best of Utah 2018

    An ode to the people, places, products and services that make life the Beehive State exceptional.
    • Nov 14, 2018
  • Fried and True

    Curry Fried Chicken is the fusion restaurant we deserve.
    • Nov 14, 2018
  • Granite's Ghost

    Reduced to an empty lot picked at by developers, Granite High’s historic specter still haunts South Salt Lake.
    • Nov 14, 2018
  • More »

More by Scott Renshaw

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Coming of Rage

    Lucas Hedges again captures the essence of troubled youth in Boy Erased.
    • Nov 14, 2018
  • World Gore II

    Overlord commits to bloody battles with Nazis, zombies and zombie Nazis.
    • Nov 7, 2018
  • No, Queen

    The life of Freddie Mercury deserves better than Bohemian Rhapsody's tedious music-biz clichés.
    • Oct 31, 2018
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Kid Stuff

    A lovely child performance anchors the satisfying family drama of Gifted.
    • Apr 12, 2017
  • If You're Going to San Francisco

    Fifty years on, Monterey Pop captures something that was more than a musical moment.
    • Jun 14, 2017

© 2018 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation