Nymphomaniac: Volume II

Year: 2013
Production Co: Zentropa Entertainments
Director: Lars von Trier
Writer: Lars von Trier
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Stacey Martin, Shia LeBeouf, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth, Udo Kier

Still beaten and bloody and still telling her story like an English professor on a stage delivering a master's thesis on literature, Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) continues to tell Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) all the stories that made her a aelf-confessed nymphomaniac.

As before, Lars von Trier casts a prestigious pall over some very sexually and creatively dubious themes and material, and you're reminded of the gulf between porn and erotica, and how the latter really isn't much different apart from the respect it gets.

When you see the very game Gainsbourg unceremoniously undressed and mounted by two African immigrants she meets on the street (at once – yes, like that and yes, full frontal), you realise von Trier is willing to go much farther than he did showing Shia LeBeouf's tackle in the first instalment.

The stories are no less confronting, and in fact this time they turn nasty, violent and quite outlandish, from visiting a professional sadist (Jamie Bell) to becoming a career criminal under the tutelage of a soft spoken confidence trickster (Willem Dafoe).

Nymphomaniac: Volume 2 is about Joe's adulthood encounters, so we see more of Gainsbourg herself in the flashbacks in the thick of the action rather than being played by her younger self (Stacy Martin).

If you hate it, think it's revolting or abhorrent von Trier – as always – would probably be perfectly happy with your reaction. It seems to be his mission to use his own psychoses to shock, and if he was a much less talented filmmaker, it'd be rubbish. But while you sometimes can't look away and sometimes can't not, it's never because of the images and words on screen.

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