The psychological thriller The House That Jack Built is directed by Lars von Trier. This story is about an incredibly smart serial killer named Jack. The events of the film take place in the 1970s and 1980s. For 12 years, the character has committed at least 60 murders. The director divided the tape into 5 incidents. Between parts, the audience hears Jack’s dialogue with another character in the film. In these intervals, the characters reflect on philosophy and life views. Let’s analyze what true meaning the creators put into the picture “The House That Jack Built”.
What is ‘The House That Jack Built’ about?
The meaning of The House That Jack Built is revealed as the story progresses. So, let’s remember what the thriller is about.
Jack is trying to build his house while killing people. At the crime scene, the protagonist takes photographs of the dead, which he hangs on his mirror. He puts the corpses in the freezer.
The maniac tells the guide through hell (Verge) 5 of the most striking cases out of 6 dozen crimes committed.
Jack moves in his van. On his way, he sees a woman and realizes that she needs help. The heroine’s car broke down. To continue driving, the woman needs to change the wheel on her car. Jack stopped and got out of the van. The man begins to joke and even hints to the heroine that he could very well be a serial killer. But the woman does not take his words seriously. She asks Jack to take her to the mechanic. The man reluctantly agrees.
However, after the repair, the jack again failed. The woman again turns to Jack with a request, only the man has completely different plans. The heroine still manages to convince the character to deliver her to the mechanic again. But along the way, the character changes his intentions. With a tire jack, he takes the heroine’s life. Jack takes the body of a woman to a freezer, prepared specifically for such cases.
Jack is already on his way to another woman. He knocks on the door of the heroine, assuring her that he is in the police. Jack tries to convince her that he is the one who can help her with her late husband’s pension. Only the heroine does not trust him. Jack quickly changes his course of action and introduces himself as an insurance agent. By fraud, the man managed to enter the house. Jack strangles the heroine, but the woman manages to regain consciousness. Then the character kills her with a knife in the very heart.
Together with a woman close to him, Jack goes hunting. The two sons of the heroine also went with them. Initially, there were no signs of trouble. The man taught Grumpy and George to shoot at targets, while the woman was busy cooking. But after a while, Jack opened fire on the boys with a rifle. Grumpy and George died, and a few hours later the man killed their mother as well.
The man goes to Jacqueline’s house. Jack honestly told the woman that he was the same serial killer, nicknamed “Mr. Sophistication.” But the girl doubts the veracity of his words. However, frightened, Jacqueline still leaves the house. The heroine meets a policeman on the street, to whom she tries to convey the meaning of her conversation with Jack. Only the law enforcement officer does not believe the woman. Jacqueline is forced to go back to the house. The character ties up the woman and then begins to mock her. Jack kills Jacqueline.
The character kidnaps five people. Having lined up everyone in a row, the man decides to shoot everyone with one shot. But he soon realizes that his plan will fail, because he does not have a solid metal bullet. Jack can’t contain his emotions. He wants to punish the perpetrators of what happened by any means.
Together with Verge, the killer travels through the circles of hell. The bridge to heaven is broken. Trying to get over the wall to the side of the world, the maniac falls into hellish lava.
“The House That Jack Built” plot explained
What is the meaning of the movie “The House That Jack Built”? The thriller looks into the soul of one of the serial maniacs with obsessive-compulsive mental disorder.
The protagonist always dreamed of being an architect, but his mother persuaded him to become an engineer. Despite his sharp mind and ability to science, most of all Jack still loved art. Someone creates paintings, music, sculptures, architectural structures. And the hero of the film preferred to do evil. He was best at killing – he did it beautifully, subtly, each time in a new way. Since childhood, the hero loved to mock, which is shown by the scene with cutting off the paw of a defenseless duckling.
God Himself seemed to help Jack in his deeds:
- The rain washes away the traces of blood from the road.
- None of the neighbors respond to the screams of the victims.
- The police ignore all evidence. Even the sincere confession of the hero does not matter.
Therefore, over time, the maniac ceases to be careful. He no longer considers it necessary to clean up the traces of the crime. He returns several times to make the photography of his masterpieces more successful. It seems to the hero that the punishment will never come to him, because he is the Almighty, the Creator.
The whole horror is that the murders, according to Jack, are a necessity. He doesn’t regret what happened. The hero compares himself with the creator of history (Hitler), music (Glenn Gould), the creators of wines. He considers the death of people as a blessing for them, a sacrifice in the name of the service of their bodies to art.
The dead, like frozen, dried or rotten grapes in the manufacture of wine, become the material for the production of something divine. At the end, the viewer can finally see the creation of a maniac – a house of the dead. Hence the meaning of the film’s title, The House That Jack Built.
The hero could not find the right material for his project. He destroyed his first wooden buildings 3 times. The bodies of people turned out to be the best material for his work of art.
Verge is a prototype of the ancient Roman poet Virgil from the Divine Comedy, who patiently listens to the hero, argues with him, asks him questions about childhood, family, love. All of Jack’s beliefs are questioned and even ridiculed by Verge. He tries to convince the maniac. Tells Jack that true art is made with love. Evil cannot contribute to the emergence of masterpieces.
Virgil leads the killer through the 9 circles of hell. After all the conversations with the conductor, Jack begins to doubt his innocence. Hence the tears in his eyes when he looks at the mowers.
“No Country for Old Men” ending explained
“Sometimes the best way to hide is not to hide at all.” So Jack wasn’t hiding at all. The victims themselves went to him to contact. Each character seems to live in his own little world, not noticing what is happening around. Surrounding people until the last could not understand who really is a serial killer. Jack did not arouse any suspicions. Because of all these factors, the maniac was at large for twelve long years.
Verge is waiting for Jack to repent of what happened. However, this did not happen. In the final episodes, the man sees mowers in front of him. Like a picture from the past. At that moment, a tear rolled from Jack’s eye. This image from childhood left a special imprint on the further existence of the character. He recalls his first act of violence, which determined his entire fate.
I hope I have helped you find the meaning of The House That Jack Built, as well as understand its ending. If you have a different vision of the film, write your version in the comments.