The film is a full-blown slasher and boasts a cast that includes Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman, Bruno Ganz, and Riley Keough. The final fifteen minutes of The House That Jack Built sees the film shift gears into a different realm - for the good - but because of the rampant, harsh, very hard to watch, very long build-up, Von Trier can't be forgiven. Just from the scant footage shown so far, it looks like it could very much push boundaries and also people's buttons. Advance word on the film suggested that it would feature scenes of sadistic violence and brutality, with Cannes director Thierry Fremaux saying that it featured "a subject so controversial" that it could only appear in an out-of-competition slot at the festival. "It's disgusting", one woman said on her way out", he tweeted.
Von Trier was making his first appearance on the Croisette since being declared "persona not grata" by the festival over a 2011 press conference in which he joked about sympathising with the Nazis.
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I glanced at my watch once or twice myself, but most of the time I was challenged, appalled and amused by von Trier's mischievous deconstruction of the serial-killer genre, as well as being impressed by his uncompromising bravado and technical brilliance: the film finishes with some magnificent supernatural imagery which would be the highpoint of any Hollywood fantasy blockbuster. But who knows - the film might turn out to be surprisingly great. He views each murder as an artwork in itself, even though his dysfunction gives him problems in the outside world.
The House That Jack Built will premiere at Cannes and awaits USA distribution.
The film premiered at Cannes today and apparently theater-goers just weren't having it. Cannes audiences are known for being, let's say passionate, prone to booing and standing ovations, but the social media reports out of The House That Jack Built describe a next-level sea of walkouts. As the inevitable police intervention is drawing nearer, he is taking greater and greater risks in his attempt to create the ultimate artwork.