Imagine what Tarantino's filmography would look like had he not gone into seclusion to sulk after this wasn't received as warmly as Pulp Fiction. He wrote a good portion of Basterds during that time so we might still have gotten his last great film. But maybe we'd also have avoided all that pastiche that panders to what he thinks his audience wants and instead gotten more measured fare that shows confidence in restraint without losing his signature touches. This isn't to say his bent exploitation riffs aren't fun, but when compared to films like this they just don't measure up.
Tarantino's funniest film by some margin, with the humor contrasting (and often accenting) the violence in clever ways. It could be argued that some of the jokes undercut the seriousness of certain situations but when you consider this is more about film making, and the difficulties that pop up during the creative process, it's hard to see any of this as disrespectful. This is also one of his best directed films, as while there are occasional moments that come off as self-indulgent the overall construction is nearly air tight with some outstanding shots along the way.
One of the finest examples of guilt and atonement put to celluloid. Harry Dean Stanton wears his shame like a heavy cloak throughout and caps off arguably his best performance in a storied career with an absolutely heartbreaking monologue. Wim Wenders' use of open space is, in a word, humbling.
John Waters (bless him) wrote my favorite blurb about this movie:
"If Ingmar Bergman had committed suicide, gone to hell, and come back to earth to direct an exploitation/art film for drive-ins, Antichrist is the movie he would have made."
Lars von Trier by his own admission wasn't quite sure all the allegory works in this and I tend to agree, although the throughline of feminine subjugation at the hands of men, well-meaning or not, remains my strongest takeaway. Unpacking the rest is probably above my paygrade. Still a gorgeous film - Anthony Dod Mantle got some great shots in this one.