Seven years ago, Lars von Trier was banned for life from the Cannes Film Festival for making jokes “sympathizing with Hitler.” Hilarious! Eventually the festival did rescind his ban and now von Trier is back at Cannes with a new movie, The House That Jack Built. By most accounts it is essentially a giant cinematic middle finger to his enemies, including the folks who barred him from Cannes for almost a decade..

The first reports and reviews of the film out of Cannes are, let’s say, somewhat mixed. A few critics did like it, including Indiewire’s Eric Kohn (who called it “sadistic” and “possibly brilliant”). The rest, though did not, and that is putting it mildly. The level of vitriol leveled against von Trier and the film is unusual, even for the heated atmosphere of the Cannes Film Festival, where so-so movies are routinely booed and/or given standing ovations.

Here’s a sampling of the reviews of the film, which stars Matt Dillon as a guy who murders children, sadistically brutalizes women, and even does a horrible thing to a baby duck:

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist:

“Kiss your children. Go for a walk in the park. Eat a tomato like it’s an apple. Attach a love letter to your payment for the gas bill. Throw some pebbles into a fountain. Learn a few phrases in Xhosa. Defrost the freezer. Do anything — it really doesn’t matter what — rather than go and see Lars Von Trier‘s The House That Jack Built.”

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph:

“Two and a half hours of self-reflexive torture porn with an entire McDonald’s warehouse of chips on its shoulder, and a handful of genuinely provocative ideas which, exasperatingly, go nowhere much.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:

“An ordeal of gruesomeness and tiresomeness that was every bit as exasperating as I had feared.”

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter:

“There's nothing like the coldly detached killing of children to spark waves of walkouts.”

And here are a few of the more unhappy tweets:

Actors culpable too! Now that’s a new one. Way to go, Matt Dillon.

These might be the angriest reviews of any movie at Cannes since The Brown Bunny in 2003. Or maybe the last time Lars von Trier released something. The House That Jack Built opens in theaters this fall. It sounds like a real laugh riot!

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