Friday, February 03, 2023

Dimension (2010 film)


Directed by Lars von Trier and written by von Trier and Niels Vorsel, Dimension is an unfinished gangster film made from 1991 to 1997 that was an experimental project that was to consist of four-minute segments that was to be shot in a period of 33 years. It is a project that explores von Trier’s desire to experiment with a group of actors on something that was to be unique but never to be due to the deaths of a few actors as the result is a 27-minute short of what could’ve been. Starring Jean-Marc Barr, Stellan Skarsgard, Udo Kier, Katrin Cartlidge, Ernst-Hugo Jaregard, Baard Owe, Birgitte Raaberg, Jens Okking, and Eddie Constantine. Dimension, in its unfinished form, is a fascinating and inventive experimental short film by Lars von Trier.

The film follows events in what was meant to be the course of 33 years as it followed the many journeys of various people in the world of crime. It starts with a man (Eddie Constantine) who arrives via helicopter to make a delivery to two gangsters (Jean-Marc Barr and Udo Kier) as he would then sell his horse one year later to a Swedish businessman (Ernst-Hugo Jaregard) where things later get problematic following that man’s death. Even as the two gangsters go on the run as they hide at the home of one of the gangsters’ uncle (Jens Okking) who lets them in but with a catch as they’re later hunted by a hitman (Baard Owe) forcing the two gangsters to go to a woman (Katrin Cartlidge) for information. She would later reluctantly help the hitman and another gangster (Stellan Skarsgard) to retrieve a parcel only for things to go wrong as usual. It all play into the schematics of what is expected in gangster films but also with an absurd sense of humor.

Lars von Trier’s direction is stylish as it is set on various locations in Sweden, the South of France, and Denmark as it starts off in a straightforward yet stylish manner though it is largely presented in a raw form that had been cultivated by Hanne Palmquist. Throughout the course of the film, von Trier’s style went from being somewhat technical in its compositions with straightforward static shots in the wide and medium shots for the locations while becoming looser in the close-ups as they’re shot on hand-held camera. Notably in the scenes involving the two gangsters and one of their uncles as they go grocery shopping as they have to buy him a feast in exchange for temporarily staying with them. Even in the scenes with Katrin Cartlidge’s character as it is shot mainly in the winter as she is jogging where the usage of hand-held cameras become evident including in her scene meeting with the Swedish businessman. The fact that it’s only 27-minutes long showcase an idea that had a lot of potential but given the fact that two of the three actors died during its production with Cartlidge dying in 2002 forced von Trier to shelve it five years after he had stopped film to pursue other projects.

The film’s ensemble cast features a cameo appearance from Birgitte Raaberg as a jogger who passes by the two gangsters and the woman during a jog as well as Baard Owe as the hitman who is pursing the gangsters and the parcel. Stellan Skarsgard is superb as another gangster working with the hitman while Katrin Cartlidge is excellent as a woman who knew the two gangsters from the film earlier in whom she is reluctant to give them information. Jens Okking is fantastic as an uncle of one of the two gangsters who gives them a place to crash on the condition they buy him a feast while Ernst-Hugo Jaregard is brilliant as a Swedish businessman buying a horse. Jean-Marc Barr and Udo Kier are amazing as the two gangsters who go out in hiding following some bad decisions as they deal with the chaos of a deal they made a long time ago. Finally, there’s Eddie Constantine in one of his final film performances film just before his death as a man who delivers the gangsters a parcel and later becoming this ailing man who sells his best horse to the Swedish businessman.

Dimension is an excellent project from Lars von Trier in its unfinished form. While it showcases an idea that is unique and imaginative. The fact that it is left unfinished due to the deaths of Ernst-Hugo Jaregard, Eddie Constantine, and Katrin Cartlidge does showcase the potential that von Trier had for a unique gangster film. In the end, Dimension is a superb yet unfinished film from Lars von Trier.

Lars von Trier Films: The Element of Crime - Epidemic - Medea - Europa - The Kingdom I - Breaking the Waves - The Kingdom II - Dogme #2: Idioterne - Dancer in the Dark - Dogville - The Five Obstructions - Manderlay - The Boss of It All - Antichrist - Melancholia - Nymphomaniac - The House That Jack Built - The Kingdom: Exodus - (Etudes)

Related: Favorite Films #3: Breaking the Waves - The Auteurs #7: Lars von Trier

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