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Nymphomaniac Volume Two


Stars: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen, Michael Pas, Jean-Marc Barr, Udo Kier

Director: Lars Von Trier

The second tranche of Lars Von Trier’s unashamedly shocking sexual odyssey is much darker. Charlotte Gainsbourg has lost all erotic sensation, so that sex for her is simply received, not enjoyed for its erotic effects.

The storyline has her continuing to tell her life story to her rescuer Stellan Skarsgård (“I consider myself asexual. I’m a virgin. I’m innocent”) and comes across as even more graphic than Volume one and harsher, too.

Also more disturbing.

Her sessions with sadomasochist Jamie “We have no safe word” Bell (an extraordinarily scary characterisation), who ties her to a sofa and proceeds to lash her mercilessly and speechlessly with the riding crop she had provided, are near unbearable to watch and unforgettable.

Von Trier never pulls his dramatic punches and his film is all the more powerful and disturbing for it, and made even more impressive by the performances, notably those of Gainsbourg and Stacy Martin as her younger self.

Indeed, given the no-holds-barred, non-simulated sexual material supplied by Von Trier, the strong and interestingly varied cast casts aside any potential embarrassment to give impressive performances. Willem Dafoe as the crook with whom Gainsbourg becomes involved and tells her “A person should take their crime seriously" is impressive, as are Uma Thurman and, something of a surprise to see him again, Udo Keir.

Nymphomaniac is definitely a one-of-a kind mainstream movie and often a gruelling one. But in my opinion, well worth seeing.

Alan Frank

Denmark/Germany/France/Belgium/UK 2013. UK Distributor: Artificial Eye. Colour.
124 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 17 Feb 2014