At Cannes, 100 walk out of Lars von Trier’s gruesome ‘The House That Jack Built’. Those who stay give it a standing ovation
Serial killer epic starring Matt Dillon was described as ‘vile’
Lars von Trier has never shied away from controversy, and his new film certainly delivered it: The House That Jack Built earned the highest level of ire and disgust seen at Cannes Film Festival this year.
In the gruesome film, which the Danish director has called his most violent film to date, Matt Dillon stars as Jack, a serial killer with more than 60 deaths to his name. Dillon’s murderer relishes bloodshed and plots increasingly horrifying ways to inflict death. And while his character espouses equal interest in killing men and women, it’s von Trier’s female characters who are slaughtered with the most gusto.
“Will you sleep tonight?” the woman next to this reporter asked as credits rolled.
Neither Uma Thurman, who is murdered first in the film, nor Riley Keough, whose stomach-churning death prompted more than a dozen walkouts, came to Cannes to promote the film or walk the red carpet. And unlike many other films here, von Trier won’t be holding a news conference for his film.
Monday night’s premiere marks von Trier’s first trip back to Cannes since he debuted Melancholia in 2011. The director was banned in the following years after joking about “sympathising with Hitler” (who is referenced in his latest work).
Variety’s Ramin Setoodah called Jack “one of the most unpleasant movie-going experiences of my life.” He counted more than 100 people walking out of the film.
Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman was one of the walkouts, calling The House That Jack Built a “ vile movie. Should not have been made. Actors culpable.”
I’ve never seen anything like this at a film festival. More than 100 people have walked out of Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built,’ which depicts the mutilation of women and children. “It’s disgusting,” one woman said on her way out. #Cannes2018 pic.twitter.com/GsBGCoyHEG
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) May 14, 2018
Just left Lars Von Trier's The House that Jack Built.
Gross. Pretentious. Vomitive. Torturous. Pathetic. #Cannes2018
— The Oscar Predictor (@OscarPredictor) May 14, 2018
Al Jazeera reporter Charlie Angela also left midway, “because seeing children being shot and killed is not art or entertainment,” she wrote on Twitter.
New York magazine’s Kyle Buchanan observed crowd reaction to the depths of violence depicted on screen.
Walked out on LarsvonTrier . Vile movie. Should not have been made. Actors culpable
— Showbiz 411 (@showbiz411) May 14, 2018
“Talked to someone who walked out of the Lars von Trier film at Cannes: ‘He mutilates Riley Keough, he mutilates children … and we are all there in formal dress expected to watch it?’”
The Cannes crowd at the gala who remained, however, gave the film a rousing standing ovation.