Date: 27th September 2000
Responding to reviews that have been all over the map for Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark, starring pop singer Bjork, Britain's FilmFour on Tuesday offered moviegoers a money-back guarantee. "Go to see Dancer in the Dark on Friday 29th of September, and if you don't like it, the cinema manager will refund your money," Deputy Chief Executive Peter Buckingham said in a statement. "If, though, you are deeply affected by Lars von Trier's vision and are moved to tears by Bjork's performance, you won't be alone."
The film opened in limited release in the U.S. last Friday and received mostly damning reviews. (The refund policy presumably does not apply in the U.S.) Jonathan Foreman in the New York Post called it "kitschy schlock gussied up with the trappings of artsiness and buttressed with canned anti-American politics." Jami Bernard in the New York Daily News commented that the film "is so jumbled, irrational and amateurish that it makes dinner theater look like the Old Vic." Derek Elley in Variety predicted that the film will "dance its way into B.O. darkness" and described it as a "demo of auteurist self-importance that's artistically bankrupt on almost every level."
The film, however, did win the Palme d'Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival last May, but members of the jury reportedly were at odds over the decision. A.O. Scott in the New York Times suggested that individual viewers may be of two minds about it, too. "The movie is both stupefyingly bad and utterly overpowering," he wrote. "It can elicit, sometimes within a single scene, a gasp of rapture and a spasm of revulsion. Come to the theater prepared, with a handkerchief in one hand and a rotten tomato in the other."
Source: Studio Briefing