The filmmaker looks to American modes of visual and aural expression to give
Happy, Happy its soul, but all her fetish accomplishes is depersonalizing her
story, making a sitcom of her character's lives.
The poetic, referential succession of near-still images that opens the film so immaculately distills Melancholia's moody narrative and themes that it makes the two-hours-plus that follow seem impossibly redundant.
The film's weird mix of dollhouse dread and fashion-magazine chic can be fetching, but it's nothing if not vacuous, a series of disjointed, improvisatory riffs that recall the brazen aesthetic overload of Amer.
Haneke's admonishments are disturbing only in the sense that they're never self-critical, and while watching one of his films, there's always a sense that he thinks he's above his characters, his audience, and scrutiny.
Every shot is painstakingly thought out, but less emphasis is placed on the human face than on the surfaces that reflect it and the objects that obscure it, and the overall effect is close to that of fetish art.