Lars von Trier’s latest film takes inspiration from the titular nursery rhyme. The phrase ‘The House that Jack Built’ can have a few different meanings – it is often used as shorthand for a shoddy project or build, and it can also refer to a never-ending endeavour with constant add-ons, often in repeating patterns. Von Trier’s film combines both: it is a shoddy project resulting in two and a half hours of a seemingly never-ending, repetitive tale that fails to excite or even shock.
When Jimmy is made redundant from his tunnelling job and needs money quickly to hire a lawyer to help him with a custody dispute over his young daughter Sadie, he comes up with a scheme to rob the cash-rich vault of the nearby Nascar racing track where he has been working. To access the safe they need the skills of Joe Bang (played by Daniel Craig), who is currently incarcerated in the local prison, who brings into the gang his redneck brothers, who are no criminal masterminds.
Right from the opening sequence all the way through, this is an amazing visual and aural feast. The cinematography is beautful – every scene and every shot is a sight to behold. The car chases through the (Namibian) desert are insanely spectacular. And the soundstage is all-enveloping. All the things I like in an action movie.