Roll the List #4, Dalton’s Take


Op-Ed Controversial Co-Op Movie Moment

Antichrist

This Roll the List has inevitably forced our hand into re-thinking how we roll the list…This topic is outrageous and, because of Kyle, my particular subject matter is disgusting to put it lightly. The Op-Ed topic requires us each to choose a subject based on the category (in this case a Controversial Co-Op Movie Moment) and the subject must be our best choice on the matter. We then switch our choices with one another and the other writer must determine why the writer picked this entry. Well, we both decided to stretch the boundaries, again, and picked titles that aren’t your average Co-Op film, like, say, Lethal Weapon or Rush Hour. I picked Final Cut and he picked…Antichrist…So, without anymore delay, here is my reasoning for Kyle’s sadistic selection.

Firstly, you can’t simply dive into Antichrist without mentally preparing yourself. Whether you are actually watching the film or merely reading about it. A descriptive retelling of the film’s plot is enough to make you cringe and squirm. The film is a horror drama (yes, that is the best way I know to describe it) about a couple that go to a cabin in the woods to reconcile the loss of their son after he falls from a window while the two are making love. Despite the graphic nature of the opening sex scene (I am a rather prude individual), the scene is artistically beautiful, even through its depressing intention. After that, everything goes to Hell. Quite literally. The two begin to quarrel at the cabin as they both become increasingly disturbed. Willem Dafoe’s character begins to see visions and his wife falls into madness, considering herself evil. The guilt-ridden couple take one step forward in healthy progress to 300 steps back when the wife begins to mutilate both her and her husbands genitals. But…I digress…I have to pick a Controversial Co-Op scene and I have to go with the scene towards the very end of the film. The wife’s dementia, as best as I can describe it, has a resolution point of her husband killing her. The entire film is leading to the point in which the husband breaks and follows through with her grotesque and cryptic manipulations. As if by some sadistic compromise, the wife is willing to kill the husband to bear the weight of what she thinks must happen, but as the film is coming to a close, Dafoe reaches his breaking point and turns against his wife. Upon witnessing his turn, the wife stops struggling and allows her husband to kill her. Now, the film has very strong supernatural undertones, so this conclusion can be seen as an evil victory for Hell. But, from a secular, psychological perspective, the entirety of this film can be seen as a slow, grueling, sadistic path to acceptance and riddance of guilt. Both of them feel horrible to the point of death for the loss of their child and they bear grief and guilt for his death. As the film progresses, the couple do unspeakable things to each other and to themselves in a way of punishing themselves and gratifying the guilt. In the conclusion, the wife takes the burden of the guilt to herself, and by essentially sacrificing herself to her husband she quenches the guilt and spares her husband. This is perhaps not the director’s intention, but the resolution in this way gives a deceptive point of reconciliation for the viewer. This is my only way of being able to console myself after watching the film. To come to some sort of masochist’s version of triumphing over grief…as a couple…cooperatively…destroying each other’s lives to rid themselves of guilt. Go team…go team, go….

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