The plot of another rather scandalous film, shot by the recognized genius Lars von Trier, immediately aroused very conflicting feelings when watching. There are quite a lot of pictures about serial killers and various maniacs. But still, each new film opens up unknown facets of this phenomenon. The author is trying to approach from a new angle, trying to show the unrevealed features of these creatures, to understand the philosophy of their actions.
The content of the picture is based on the memories of a serial killer named Jack, who hunted for quite a long time somewhere in the American outback. Being an engineer, but imagining himself an architect, he tries to design and build a house for himself. But something is constantly bothering him, something he does not like. He has already been “gotten” by constant alterations. And he is more and more devoted to a more beloved and better work for him – the murder of people. For no reason, often spontaneously. Simply because he is good at it, because he likes it.
The film shows only five episodes of murders committed in twelve years. He enjoys this process. And this is only a small part of the monstrous accomplishments. He enjoys this process. But even after taking the life of his victim, he continues to revel in the power over the corpse. Considering himself almost an artist, with perverted pleasure he stuffs corpses, takes pictures with them, granites them in a specially removed freezer among pizza packages. Over time, he began to lose boundaries, allowing himself to almost openly commit crimes. He defiantly leaves bloody footprints on the road, allows his victim to call for help at the top of his voice. He considers himself beyond the reach of the police. It inspires him.
But everything comes to an end. And everyone has his own. In the epilogue, when the police almost overtake him, a good friend Verge comes to his aid, with whom he conducts an off-screen dialogue throughout the story. He showed him the way to Hell. And that was the only way for him. For even the illusion that he tried to use there was unrealizable for him.
The meaning of “The House That Jack Built”
So what is the meaning of the film “The House That Jack Built”, which Von Trier decided to reveal? And he is in the depths of the action, and on the surface.
Trying to present himself as an architect, and not getting the required result in building his own house, an ordinary engineer Jack tries himself in a different incarnation. Where everything works out great for him is in killing people. Gradually, he comes to the conclusion that what he does is also a manifestation of a kind of perfection. He calls himself Mr. Sophistication. Murder becomes a hobby.
Throughout the film, his acquaintance Verge conducts a dialogue with him behind the scenes. He seems to force Jack to share information about himself, starting from childhood, when he noticed certain traits and inclinations in himself – to bring pain, to take life. The picture shows how the portrait of a serial killer is gradually formed. But it’s on the surface. And in the depths of the plot, an even more terrifying essence of this person is revealed. He considers his actions to be art.
But at the same time, showing this sadism, the director does it in a very repulsive, scary, cruel way. Killing a person is very scary.
Returning to the dialogues between Verge and Jack, as you watch the picture, it becomes clear that the sadist’s opponent, Virgil from The Divine Comedy, is Dante’s guide through the circles of hell. And all their conversations are the hero’s gradual approach to a natural denouement. Why regular? Art that only kills, destroys, leads its author straight to hell, and there are no concessions for aestheticization, sophistication of the mind.
The climax of the film is the final half hour of the story. The correspondence dialogue of the characters develops into an unexpected meeting in the sadist’s freezer. Jack is trying to show the “house” he has been building all these years. This is the house of the corpses of his victims. This is what he considers the art of architect Jack. And he is proud of it.
What about Verge? When the police almost catch up with the maniac in his vault of victims, he invites him along to show how and what rewards are given for such deeds. He takes him through all the circles of hell, while listening to his confession. The whole path of the heroes of von Trier is an allegory for the path of Dante and Virgil in the same places. Only Dante managed to return, and Jack did not. The bridge leading to the top has been destroyed. And none of those who tried to overcome this barrier managed to survive. Realizing himself almost as a messiah, Jack believes that he will be able to overcome this barrier, climbing over a sheer wall, but … Everyone will have to answer for the actions he has created in his life. But to a different extent. And Jack! Therefore, the film ends very symbolically: falling into the abyss of the underworld to the tune of “Go on a journey, Jack.”
Since von Trier’s films are never grounded in realism, this film should be understood in terms of his reflection films, an invitation to a wild journey into the very heart of darkness, humanity in general and man in particular.
It is also surprising that the director wants to present his picture as a comedy. He emphasizes this by launching a cheerful bowie tune. Even the smile of the protagonist itself has one thought: if such a guy smiles at you, don’t expect good things. And if you look closely at the victims themselves, it immediately catches your eye: their fate is to be victims for the slaughter.
This is a movie that plays with the viewer and invites him to choose what it is about.
Write in the comments your meaning of the movie The House That Jack Built. We look forward to waiting!