Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Very Different From but Just as Good as Volume 1March 20 2014
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Nymphomaniac: Volume 2 definitely did not disappoint. It started, seemingly, directly after Volume 1 stopped. In Volume 2, Joe continues her story but delves into her more self-destructive nature. Although Volume 1 was almost entertaining and darkly humorous, Volume 2 is in typical Lars von Trier style. There is almost nothing entertaining about it, it's beautiful to watch, it's intelligent, and its very sad. As with his earlier films like "Dancer in the Dark" and "Breaking the Waves," Volume 2 of Nymphomaniac radiates the guilt/sadness/etc. of the main character. It was not pleasant to watch. Also, as usually happens in Lars von Trier films, the ending leaves the viewer in disbelief and shock. He has said before that a film should be a stone in the viewer's shoe. Nothing really wraps up nicely like a mainstream film. As always, Charlotte Gainsbourg delivered a fantastic performance and the supporting cast was great. The writing was great and so was the pacing; in fact, I sincerely hope the uncut version gets released in America. If you liked the first Volume, definitely watch the second.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
as usual Lars does not disapoint ...April 7 2014
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What is there not to like? Not something to recommend to everyone. It is to me a feminist film and a punch to the inflated egos of the so called white liberal middle class men. They do not in fact understand female sexuality anymore than the far right white christian conservatives do. This film is explicit, but not erotic or sensual.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
ImportantAug. 12 2014
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This is that rare character study which actually merits four hours. My fear was that Von Trier was going to push the boundaries of how sexually graphic a serious artistic film can be for cheap, commercial reasons. Upon reflection I see other reasons. He wants us to fully understand the loneliness, ugliness, and misery that this behavior can eventually cause. He never excuses or condemns this character. There are so many moments when 99% of women would have turned back, but this one pushes forward. It demystifies what is really going on under the surface, while still admitting there are no easy answers to "why." I predict this work be more appreciated as the years go by. It explores too many difficult truths about the way men and women see each other to be ignored.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
(BLU RAY REVIEW) The second half of von Trier's sex opusAug. 2 2014
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Volume II picks up right after Volume I ends. In reality this is one long voyeuristic drama cut into two pieces, in this case discs. The older Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is more involved in the flashbacks of her story as being told to Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard), the older man who rescued her from a beating. Joe is no longer the young sexually aggressive teen she was earlier as played by Stacy Martin.
Shia LaBeouf remains a central character as Jerome, who was given Joe's virginity early in Vol. I. In fact they end up together and through a birth control error, are given a son. Jerome's job requires him to travel extensively so Joe is often left with the child or in the hands of a caregiver. As her relationship with Jerome progresses, Joe finds that her sexual desires have waned and looks for new ways to get them back.
On one occasion she summonses a pair of African émigrés, brothers, neither of whom speaks English. The pair get into an argument over who will penetrate Joe in which...uh, orifice. This actually is quite comical as the two men argue while director Lars von Lier focuses on their fully erect members waiving in the breeze like a pair of sword fighters.
The film gets darker as Joe decides that she will visit a sex specialist (Jamie Bell) who doesn't teach psychotherapy of any kind but provides sexual beatings which actually get Joe back on the pleasure-seeking bandwagon. So much so that when her babysitter doesn't show up, she leaves her sleeping son (about 18 mos. old at this point) alone while she heads off for her appointment of machoism. As the son awakens and slowly climbs out of his crib as the snow begins to fall, I was reminded of a similar scene in von Trier's "Antichrist." Alas, Jerome returns from his trip to find his son out on the balcony. This leads to his banishment of Joe from ever seeing Jerome or their son again after she refuses to promise to change her extracurricular escapades.
Instead, Joe becomes a collection enforcer for one of the city's load sharks she calls `L' (Willem Dafoe, who starred with Gainsbourg in the aforementioned "Antichrist"). Yeah, that surprised me too. But hey, it's von Trier. Evidently, Joe's ability to read men will come in handy in collecting debt, rather than having his goons beat them. Personally I think it was just von Trier messing with us again. There's an extended scene where Joe and her two goons go to a rich man's house to collect a debt but he's not forthcoming. So she pulls his pants down and begins to taunt him verbally. Unable to get a `rise' out of him she begins to tell a tale of a young boy. That seems to work. The man becomes aroused and agrees to pay. Joe, having surmised that the man has a sexual perversion for children, but has never acted upon it, decides he should be orally satisfied. Now, I'm not quite sure how they pull this off in the making of this film, but it sure looks real.
This film like the earlier Volume I is far from a masterpiece or even a good movie. It is filled with sex, but little is erotic, certainly not romantic and leaves the viewer a bit unclean. At the same time von Trier does introduce some interesting subject matter. Everyone knows what a nymphomaniac is, a woman with an addictive need for sex. Has anyone ever heard of a satyromaniac, the word for a man with the same condition? Me either. Both words are taken from Greek mythology. The final scenes in the movie are equally disturbing as Joe has a chance encounter with Jerome (this time played by Michael Pas). Her final scenes with Seligman are just ridiculous.
The Blu ray transfer comes with a 1080p video resolution and has a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the same as volume I. I did notice one nature scene that was shadowboxed, that is had black borders surrounding the picture. I don't know what that was about. Still using digital cameras, Volume II seems a bit darker and the picture a bit grainier as opposed to Volume I. Like the first film there are no artifacts that I could see. It looks very good. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is solid if unspectacular. But this is a film with a lot of talking and not much action, beyond the sex. Music is all from individual classical and rock pieces. Dialog is clear and properly focused. Subtitles are available in Spanish and English SDH. Extras include a 9 minute segment where some of the actors talk about working with von Trier. What could have been an interesting piece deals with the actors talking about how body and sex doubles were used during the filming. But it doesn't reveal how the effects and editing were carried out. I'd really like to see that. There's also a trailer.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
More sinister second volume stuns, satisfiesMarch 20 2014
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The second and final volume of Nymphomaniac solidifies the overall enterprise as a masterpiece and a significant contribution to the canon of its creator, Danish writer, director, and provocateur Lars von Trier. Though few might describe Volume I as a gentle or romantic film, it is compared to the conclusion, which is in many ways more brutal, more decadent, more desperate, and laced with even more macabre humor. We saw self-diagnosed nymphomaniac Joe, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg and, as a teenager and university student, Stacy Martin, come of age and discover her enormous, out-of-control sexuality. We saw her first encounters with love and also with the degenerate and the mad. Now we pursue her into underworlds both sexual and downright criminal, precipitating a final spiral into disorder. As she ages and tries to maintain a domestic life as a wife and mother, her desire is complicated by a more potent dimension of self-hatred and shame, and she is forced to question whether she has or even deserves a place in mainstream society. There are also still moments of bold and playful provocation, including an episode which finds Joe alone in a hotel room with a pair of African brothers arguing in a foreign language. It is a scene which demands we react however we will (based on who are or perhaps where we come from) to the image of a beautiful and frail white female between a pair of muscular, nude men of color and then to interpret our response. There are also mystifying, but intriguing instances of self-reference on the part of the director, including an altered staging of Antichrist's haunting opening sequence.
Now portraying Joe in both the past and the present, the courage and depth of the performance delivered by Gainsbourg comes into focus. This is her third project with von Trier after Antichrist and Melancholia, and the duo now share an undeniable collaborative magic. He has at once punished and elevated her, revealing her as a soulful performer capable of anchoring the extreme spectacles he designs and ensuring humanity is at the forefront despite the audacious concepts and content. Of the many other famous faces gathered to populate this two-part epic, a pair of scene-stealing standouts are introduced in the second volume: Jamie Bell, enigmatic and icy as a dominant sadomasochist, and model Mia Goth in an auspicious acting debut as an isolated and wayward teenager who becomes a protege to Joe in perhaps the film's most disturbing, yet moving storyline, one which gives Joe the chance to regard a reflection of herself (her decisions, her general volatility) in another person, an innocent.
Not least because both volumes are overflowing with metaphors and philosophical asides, Nymphomaniac as a whole will be a film to revisit and contend with for a long time, at least for viewers on its wavelength. If Joe and her sexuality equals the often despairing and nihilistic director and his troubled relationship with the media, then the film is an interesting variation on the redemption story and the implications of the final scenes are devastating and a shade amusing, too.