It seems like it’s been a while since Matt Dillon was the kind of actor you’d cite as an example of “movie star,” does it not? The well-traveled, now 54-year-old Dillon has always been a talented performer, but his work in recent years has largely been on the indie and low-budget side—a collection of crime capers with names like Bad Country and The Art of the Steal. Certainly, he’s been a long way removed from his ‘90s and 2000s peak in comedies/thrillers such as There’s Something About Mary, Wild Things or even You, Me and Dupree.
But buckle your seatbelt and get ready for a hard left turn as you see a very different side of Matt Dillon in the first trailer for Lars Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built. Set in ‘70s and ‘80s Washington, “the story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of 12 years and depicts the murders that truly develop Jack as a serial killer.” And wow, does Dillon seem to be relishing the chance to play an unhinged character.
Unsettling, is it not? Dylan’s “Jack” is a man who opines that he doesn’t believe in heaven or hell—or more accurately, that he believes that “heaven and hell are one and the same,” with the soul belonging to heaven and the body to hell. He disassociates himself from his own actions, seemingly coming to the conclusion that divine justice couldn’t possibly exist, if he hasn’t been punished for his terrible actions.
Co-starring in The House That Jack Built are Uma Thurman and Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road, Logan Lucky), the former appearing to portray a woman murdered by Jack for (correctly) assessing that he “kind of looks like a serial killer.” Like most of Von Trier’s work, the director provided the screenplay himself. Expect plenty of breathy, erudite philosophizing, punctuated by scenes of uncomfortably realistic violence, fitting Von Trier’s apparent philosophy that “life is evil and soulless.” Also: Apparently expect David Bowie’s “Fame” to be involved in some way.
The film is having its world premier at Cannes on May 14, 2018. A Danish release has been announced for November, and one can presume that a U.S. release will likely follow.