“The soul belongs to Heaven, and the body to Hell.”
Since its premiere at Cannes this past May, The House That Jack Built has drawn a substantial deal of heat from critics and audiences alike. The latest feature from long-tenured arthouse provocateur Lars Von Trier, the film tracks the pathology of Jack (Matt Dillon), a serial killer who preys on women in particular. From the film’s new trailer alone, it’s clear that Von Trier is playing out one of the most common dialogues about his work in cinematic form: does Von Trier destroy female bodies because he finds art in it, or because he’s trying to live out the sort of primal urges that polite society rejects through filmmaking?
It’s unlikely that the already-notorious film will answer this for skeptics in a way they’ll find palatable; talk of the film’s grisly, sustained acts of callous violence have already followed it through much of the run-up to its release. Finally, in December, audiences will have the chance to decide for themselves. IFC Films will release The House That Jack Built in a one-night-only unrated form on November 28th, and that version will be the uncut print that the Cannes audience watched. Two weeks later, on December 14th, an R-rated edit of the film will be released both in theaters and on VOD, likely cutting down on some of the nastiest business.
Either way, it’s a Lars Von Trier movie. Check out the new trailer, but by now you already know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.