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The House That Jack Built


  • R-rated
  • BBFC 18
Release: Mar 11, 2019 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Asphyxia - external link: IMDB
Comparison between the censored R-rated version (represented by the VoD version on iTunes US) and the uncut Director's Cut (represented by the British Blu-ray from Curzon Artifical Eye)

- 14 deviations
- Difference: 93 sec. (= 1:33 min)

Censorship and the scandals surrounding the theatrical distribution of THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

Lars von Trier has been raving on the big screen since the end of the 90's and there has always been a lot of praise from the art house community. His more provocative works began with the film Idiots in 1998, but in the recent years he often chose more drastic ways to express his works. Antichrist from 2009 caused a lot of turmoil in Cannes with his real sex scenes and with the announcement of a more harmless version for catholic markets. The two-parter Nymphomaniac also made headlines at that time (2013) because of its hardcore sex scenes, some of which were shot with bodydoubles. There was also a censored theatrical version of both parts next to Trier's Director's Cut.

In The House That Jack Built the Danish director tells the story of a serial killer portrayed by Matt Dillon from his own perspective. Uma Thurman is his first victim and with Bruno Ganz you get to see more familiar faces. Lars von Trier described the film as his most violent so far and according to first reports of disgusted audience members rushing out of the theatre in Cannes, he also received extensive publicity from here due to the situation on the US market. At the end of November / beginning of December 2018, a slightly censored R-rated version was to be released on a large scale in the theatres and then immediately as VoD, while distributor IFC Films wanted to show the unrated Director's Cut (or the regular Uncut version) only for one day. This idea however met with little approval by the MPAA, it threatened sanctions for the screening of the unrated version. At least the original plan to offer the unrated version on most streaming services quite quickly was then shelved and since mid-December 2018 only the R-rated version can be found on American VoD providers.

While there is no DVD/Blu-ray date yet in the USA, the apparently world's first uncut home cinema release in Great Britain was released on March 4th, 2019 . In this way we can now show which censorship measurements were necessary for the R-rating in America.

The censorship of the R-rated version of THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

A little confusion came up in between every now and then to the extent of the censorships. The wrongly "extrapolated" PAL/NTSC runtimes in the German rating board entry (FSK) and unfortunately also the runtime data obtained from the German Amazon listing did the rest. In any case, the fact is that the uncut version is about 1.5 minutes longer than the R-rated version and runs on Blu-ray (with the usual 23.976 frames per second) rounded 153 minutes - the PAL or 25fps counterpart accordingly ~ 147 minutes. In addition to pure cutbacks, there are also a few other things to discover, such as changed running speed and zooms.

The most drastic censorship occurs in the "3rd incident", the infanticide. Both, the two actual murders, which one sees from Jack's rifle scope, as well as various other views of the two child corpses were erased. The off-comment was shifted a little bit several times to adapt to the shorter course of the R-rated. When Jack then cuts off the breasts of his female victim in the "4th incident", of course all explicit camera perspectives were cutted for the MPAA blessing. Flashbacks and the murder scene in the caravan during the "5th incident" were also edited.

As the film, contrary to the extensive scandal movie reports, shows a leisurely calm narrative style in the 2.5 hours and with all the off-commentaries and hints continues to be strongly oriented towards an art-house audience, it works without any problems without the violent peaks described here.

Nevertheless, the potential buyer of uncensored movie entertainment, both in Great Britain and in Germany can enjoy it without hesitation.

Runtimes are arranged according to the following scheme
R-rated in NTSC / British Blu-ray
Other logos at the beginning.
Not included in cutting duration/ -quantity.

British Blu-ray 13.4 sec longer

R-Rated (US-VoD)Director's Cut (UK Blu-ray)

64:03 / 64:17-64:23

At the R-rated version, the shot ends immediately after the single image with the muzzle flash. Actually you can see the bloody hit at Grumpy right after that, he falls to the ground. Jack reloads and shoots at the boy again, while the mother screams from the off.

6.7 sec

64:16 / 64:36-64:37

Same scheme with brother George: After the muzzle flash you can actually still see the bloody hit.

1.2 sec

65:42 / 66:03-66:47

The cake spoon longer on George's mouth. One sees the crying mother again and the camera moves upwards on Georges body. In the camera-totale you can see the picnic more exactly, Grumpy was also put next to it.

43,8 sec

66:55 / 68:00-68:08

At the end of the scene you can see such the camera-totale again. The mother stands up perplexed, while Jack continues to count up from the off. The asked favorite number 12 indicates the time the mother got to run away.

For the R-rated, the camera shot were already made before, so that the counting to be heard from the off was set faster one after the other respectively the soundtrack was shifted. While the numbers 5 and 6 can actually be heard for the illustrated totale here, these were already present in the R-rated during Jack's ascent to the hunter's seat.

8.5 sec

The re-cut to the Jack throwing the numbers 7 and 8 on paper in front of the red car in the alley was speeded-up a bit in the R-rated.

R-rated 1.8 sec longer
Image for classification

74:58 / 76:13-76:20

Jack opens Grumpys eyes in two additional shots with a small piece of wood.

Actually the Taxidermie commentary comes here, again this was moved forward for the R-rated shots before - but can be heard there completely.

6.8 sec

75:07 / 76:29-76:37

Various further close-ups.

8.1 sec

75:35 / 77:05-77:11

The camera descends longer at the rebuilt Grumpy, one sees also the shot knee.

5,4 sec

75:44 / 77:19-77:21

A slightly longer shot of Grumpy.

2.5 sec

Already around the previous two cuts the R-rated playback-speed was decently slowed down. The following last shot of the waving Jack was slowed down a bit more. This shot in the R-rated is 2 sec. longer . Apparently it was handled this way in order to accommodate the identical, but slightly shifted off-comment here.

Image for classification

97:23 / 98:58-99:01

After the "They are always the criminals" statement, Jack grabs Simples breast and cuts into the side with the knife.

3 sec

98:45 / 100:23-100:24

During the assembly of the incidents shown so far, the close-up of the breast-cutting is missing again.

1.2 sec

121:28 / 123:07-123:13

You see S.P. again in a frontal-shot with the knifetip through the chin, more blood flows and he gasps.

6.1 sec

128:06-128:10 / 129:51-129:55

In the montage of the murder scenes, in which Verge always appears somewhere in the background, the scene with Simple was zoomed-in a bit. Her cutted breasts are no longer visible in the R-rated.

No time difference

R-rated (US-VoD)Director's Cut (UK Blu-ray)