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Lars von Trier has stumbled lately, not just in calamitous press conferences but as a maker of movies; Antichrist, a dopey psychothriller mistaken for art, was a near-complete negation of everything he does well. So in fairness, it's time for forgiving souls to give the director a second chance with this, his strongest effort in years. A miserable bride (Kirsten Dunst, rousing out of her usual stupor) suffers through her wedding, distracted by a bluish star in the sky. It's another planet careering toward our own, rendering all plans for the future moot. Deftly, Von Trier skewers the heroic aspects of science fiction, leaning on a nihilism well wrought by a perfect cast. Some will call Melancholia a conventional movie—a fair comment. It's also a reminder that discipline can be a salvation.—JR

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New York Film Festival 2011

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