Released: 2007, Peaceville Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
What do you get when you cross a Norwegian black metal legend and a video camera? No, this is not a bad joke. Rather, the result is Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto’s first foray into filmmaking, THE MISANTHROPE. Minimalist in every way possible, THE MISANTHROPE is more of an art piece than a true “film.” Essentially, this is a mismash of clips sewn together with creepy ambient music and bizarre interludes. The natural beauty of Norway is captured in picturesque vistas but the scenes of a coffin being drug around in the snow and of an old circus performer whose dog lives in a rusted-out car certainly downplay the feel of relaxing solitude. Atmospheric and weird, THE MISANTHROPE is, at best, worthy of a single viewing and, at worst, utterly pointless and frustrating.
Darkthrone fans will revel in the raw footage of rehearsals for SARDONIC WRATH, as well as early live performances of “Archipelago” and “Thulcandra.” Darkthrone prodigies, Aura Noir and Gallhammer, get some screen time as well, but the majority of the hour-long main feature is composed of ice fishing footage, cross-country skiing, Knut, a former circus performer, who lives as a recluse in the Norwegian wilderness and tells time using the sun and the creepy-as-hell coffin-dragging.
A bonus CD of seven instrumental tracks composed by Nocturno Culto is included, as well. These songs make up the score of THE MISANTHROPE and serve as good background music but little else.
THE MISANTHROPE is a tough sell to anyone, even the most die-hard of Darkthrone fanatics. The press information that accompanied the DVD quotes Nocturno Culto as saying “[THE MISANTHROPE is] a totally weird film with no actual information, but with atmosphere and self-irony.” In that, he succeeds but for the viewer, it is an hour better spent doing…well, just about anything else.