Monday, January 27, 2014

Dancer in the Dark

A single mother (Bjork) in 1964 Washington rapidly losing her vision saves every penny earned at her factory job, which she barely hangs on to thanks to the help of a kindly coworker (Catherine Deneuve), so she can procure an ocular operation to ensure her son won't suffer the same fate. Freely breaking into  song and dance numbers while preparing for a stage production of Sound of Music and brushing off a strange admirer (Peter Stormare), her life takes a bleak turn when a law enforcement officer (David Morse) commits a callow offense against her. Lars von Trier's bizarre take on the Hollywood musical works surprisingly well, thanks to Bjork's affecting performance, some very entertaining musical numbers, and the director's expectedly unusual flourishes. Aaso working beyond reason is its cliched, outmoded and nonetheless engaging story while unexpected performers such as Deneuve and a late arriving Joel Grey add to the arrestment.