writer-director Lars von Trier expresses his anxiety about nothingness and meaninglessness with Wagnerian grandiosity. A hidden planet, called Melancholia, threatens to crash into Earth and end life as we know it. In the first half, von Trier treats us to the wedding reception of Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard), during which Justine is unable to go long without a nap or a good cry. In the second half, the tones switch from warm shadows and glowing golds to chilly grays, reflecting the outlooks of fatalists Justine and von Trier as they brace themselves for the end of the world. Melancholia
is a dark, almost hopeless movie that takes great delight in its own existence. Von Trier's bleakness never seems cheap, because he's made such a head-swimmingly complex and profound film in order to explore it.