The House That Jack Built

Viewed – 05 March 2019. Blu-Ray

Matt Dillon, who first caught my attention following his star-making role in cult favourite Drugstore Cowboy returns after what seems to have been a long absence from the movie scene. Hats off to him for choosing such a controversial role as ‘Jack’ a man recanting five incidents during a twelve year history as a serial killer.

The House That Jack Built

One of those movies that instantly stirred up controversy following it’s Cannes debut. With a myriad of clever, baffling and disturbing references in an attempt to explore a damaged mind, both revered and reviled director Lars Von Trier’s movie is equal parts challenging, shocking and decidedly clever. Structurally with Jack’s repeated attempt to build a house whilst at the same time descending into madness is a work of ingenious symbolism. In amidst harrowing depictions of breast-slicing or strangulation there’s also a surprising and welcome amount of satire and dark comedy (returning a rigpr mortis-stricken body to the scene of the crime, OCD cleaning up), that comparisons to American Psycho or French thriller Man Bites Dog are valid. However, one scene involving a mother and her two little boys challenged even my admittedly far reaching boundaries.

Dillon is fantastic and very convincing as this unfeeling sociopathic killer and in different material (or if he was Anthony Hopkins) might have got the Oscar nod. Yes, Von Trier gets self-indulgent in his artistic flourishes, throwing in German expressionist-like imagery and footage from the holocaust as well as his own movies to hammer home various points about art and violence. Yet along with Jack’s narrated conversations with disembodied confidant ‘Verge’ … what we ultimately get is a very unique take on the serial-killer subject, meaning I came away rather impressed.

Verdict: 4 /5


Viewed – 04 March 2010  Blu-ray

Crime thrillers are one of the oldest sub-genres in the history of cinema.  That template reached its pinnacle in the late nineties with the seminal classic Heat, a movie that this bares more than a few similarities to.  Matt Dillon is a seasoned detective who stumbles upon a crack team of professional criminals following a daring bank robbery.  Although being investigated for his own questionable police work methods, he vows to apprehend the criminals, headed by Idris Elba’s swarve, experienced thief whilst also consiting of Star Wars’ Hayden Christensen, Fast & The Furious’ Paul Walker and rapper Chris Brown.  Yet when a newly released former member of the gang proposes a final job, suddenly everything the gang have worked for is put to the test.

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Viewed – 07 August 2010  Blu-ray

A newby recruit to a veteran team of security guards finds himself coerced into stealing a truck containing $42 million.  Yet their seemingly perfect plan soon spirals out of control when one of them has second thoughts.  This tightly woven, intense thriller bares more than a passing resemblance to Reservoir Dogs as a group of (first time) crooks gradually turn against each other when a plan goes wrong. 

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