The House That Jack Built

December 2018
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The House That Jack Built

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Director: Lars Von Trier

Starring: Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman, Siobhan Fallon Hogan

 

2018, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, 155 minutes, Digital, R

Distributor: IFC Films

Program Notes

USA in the 1970s. We follow the highly intelligent Jack through 5 incidents and are introduced to the murders that de ne Jack’s development as a serial killer. We experience the story from Jack’s point of view. He views each murder as an artwork in itself, even though his dysfunction gives him problems in the outside world. Despite the fact that the nal and inevitable police intervention is drawing ever near (which both provokes and puts pressure on Jack) he is—contrary to all logic—set on taking greater and greater chances. The goal is the ultimate artwork: A collection of all his killings manifested in a house that he builds.

Along the way we experience Jack’s descriptions of his personal condition, problems, and thoughts through a recurring conversation with the unknown Verge—a grotesque mixture of sophistry mixed with an almost childlike self-pity and in-depth explanations of, for Jack, dangerous and di cult manoeuvres.

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Dillon might have trouble putting this one
at the top of his resume if he wants to do a Disney lm, but there’s no question he delivers an impactful movie monster, with darting eyes and a toothy smile that makes Jack at once seem empathetic and bonkers.

— Eric Kohn, IndieWire

No mere exercise in sadism (or masochism), The House That Jack Built is an anguished attempt to stare into the pits of hell.

— Lawrence Garcia, MUBI’s Notebook


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