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Summary: Manderlay is a plantation where a group of people are living as if slavery hadn't been abolished 70 years earlier. Upon leaving Dogville in 1933, Grace and her father head far south to the state of Alabama where they arrive upon the bizarre place.
Although "Manderlay" never reaches the emotional highs of "Dogville", its carefully structured narrative, well-written dialogue, thematic intrigue and moral implications make it a highly compelling watch. Howard doesn't match Kidman's nuance, but she's a solid substitute. The overall product, however, is hampered by the underwhelming ending, which, unlike the monumental finale of "Dogville", is emotionally muted and marks an obvious attempt to underline the message clearly implied by that point.
Like a retread of Dogville only it's far less effective and rarely transcends its simple provocation. The racial emphasis seems somewhat misguided, perhaps even misinformed, but there are a few memorable scenes that make it worth viewing, especially for Von Trier fans.
A fascinating look at racism, slavery (both political and psychological), freedom and (the potential flaws of) idealism. It's a provocative piece of film-making, but is so explicit about its message and tries to cover so much that it can feel muddled at times (also it lacks the stylistic mastery of its superior prequel, Dogville). Still it really got me thinking and like Dogville it is manipulative in the best way making you reflect on the reactions it prompts from you early on in the film.
like dogville, but rougher around the edges. the cast isn't as good, the visual style doesn't feel as polished, the ending wasn't as powerful. but this treatise on race, and in particular white man's burden, is nearly as pointed as the amazing first entry into this 2-film trilogy. which is a shame - the ending is obvious in its hint about the previously planned finale on washington. ah well. every feature by von trier, greatest director ever, has now been seen. well except images of liberation.