What a nice jumping off point: I arrived right on time to see Melancholia on a large screen at the AMC. I wish, in retrospect, I had arrived half-way through. Formally separated into parts one and two, part two intrigued me. It is a complete and unique story putting interesting, psychologically provacative characters into an extreme science-fiction scenario.

i liked the drama, the texture, imagery and the uncertainty of the two sisters living through their depression and anxiety so much that i would like to know if I watched it on its own — and it is long enough to stand alone — if I would have enjoyed it and considered it an excellent film experience. The deeply psychological portrayals stand out. But as much as I admire the film for going there, and I agree there are memorable moments that express pain and desperation quite nicely in the film, it failed to work for me as an engaging unified work of art.

I found the first part so tedious, I thought the director lost the whole point of delving deeply. Soon into the wedding of part 1, i felt I knew the entire tragectory. All the details of a depressed life, the disfunctional family, the failure to communicate, the desperate acts and the lethargy, all made sense, but the relentless repetition makes for bad story telling. I am reminded of Chantal Ackerrman's heroine, Jeanne Dielman, peeling potatoes in real time. It was a powerful idea, but people still streamed out of the theater minute by minute, patience expired, unlike any other film experience I have had. As a matter of fact, I tolerated potatoes being peeled more than the wedding in part 1 of Melancholia, because there was a kind of mystery to what dark secret Ackerman was getting at in the story and in her filmmaking. But I don't think, for all the darkness in Dunst's melancholty, that there are any secrets.

I am also trying to think of films where the first part of the story was so unrelated to the second part. Of course, the characters are the same, but the genre changed. From psychological trauma-drama to sci-fi thriller. That may be the most experimental aspect of this film, and it certainly was disconcerting to me. Other films contain far flung subplots, changing locations, and evolution of story but the disparate elements are woven together. The core of the story is usually one idea that can be described and developed. This story contained two ideas and they are not related. Of course, conceptually, they are. Melancholia is both the depression at the heart of part 1 and the name of the planet at the center of part 2. But in the theater, it would have made as much emotional sense if Keifer Sutherland, who was excellent along with all the leads, had called in the anti terrorism unit from "24" and saved the day. The link between actor in one role and the same actor in another role, being as strong for me as the link between woman getting married in one half of Melancholia and facing planetary convulsions in the next.