Matt Dillon has defended critics of Lars von Trier having starred in the controversial director’s newest film The House That Jack Built.
Trier, who has made a name for himself with his now iconic shock factor work, is preparing for the mainstream release of his two-and-a-half hour film depicting 12 years in the life of a “highly intelligent” serial killer played by Oscar nominee Dillon.
Set in the 1970s and 1980s Washington, Von Trier has described the film as celebrating “the idea that life is evil and soulless” but has been described as ‘murder porn’ by some critics. Some went as far as saying that the Danish writer-director had “gone too far” with his latest effort.
Entertainment reporter Roger Friedman called the film a “vile movie” that “should not have been made.” Viewers who stormed out of the Cannes Film Festival reportedly said “he mutilates children… and we are all there in formal dress expected to watch it?” upon exiting the screening.
Despite the criticism, Dillon has embraced the film and come to the defence of Trier: “I like that Lars embraces the controversy of it all,” Dillon said in a new interview with Indiewire. “He loves to be polarizing — that’s just part of his uncompromising nature,” he added.
“He’s not an evil person. This film is not an evil act. This is an exploration and a meditation of evil. It’s a work of art. I’ve taken some flak for saying this, but I think it’s okay for the audience to be disturbed by it! Yeah, it’s entertainment…”
“I’m very against censorship,” Dillon continued. “Lars is that. He’s courageous. He’s not courageous in every aspect of his life, but as a he’s got a lot of guts. What’s so great about Lars is that he gives you permission to do whatever you want.”
“If people get upset, he just says ‘blame me.’ That’s why actors are treated so well in his films, and people like working with him.”