There is a distinct blue hue to this final 30 seconds of the film. The tones grow colder and colder as the film progresses, and this final scene is the paramount expression of this. The characters sit outside under a symbolic shelter, holding hands as the planet strikes earth. The frames capture close-ups of our three characters, revealing their firm grips of one another’s hands, their looks of terror and acceptance, and the tightly shut eyes of the son/nephew, as he braces the impact with terror and bravery.
There is no dialogue, only non-diegetic music. It consists of a powerful/swelling orchestra, building tension and revealing the largeness and finality of the situation. The brass instruments overtake the strings forcefully in the final seconds of this scene (i.e. the movie itself.)
The characters are somewhat still, but the large mass from space grows slowly but surely larger (an on-going method in the movie. It’s an ever-present threat, one that the viewers and characters are unsure if it’s going to engulf them, or simply pass by).
The editing is simple, yet effective. As the white, bright light of destruction encompasses the screen (and flames overtake our characters), there is a moment where one can see their burned, helpless figures as they all face death.
This is the ending we all feared, but were unsure would actually happen. The threat of the foreign planet is an impending danger from the beginning, much like the melancholia that we see in the private life of Justine. It’s a force that poses a slow-burning destruction, giving the viewer a sense of uneasiness and despair. It’s a resolution that defies the normal, a resolution that is the worst possible case scenario. The utilization of tone and saturation also acts as a really conclusive visual aid. The blueness and dreariness of faces, foreground and background show the total envelopment of the colliding planet, which in my opinion, symbolizing the all-consuming nature of our main figures depressive state, and the destructive effect has on all in its path.
I think the director has used a hyper-realistic portrayal of a sci-fi idea as a more symbolic and large-scale representation of a dysthymic struggle. The other-worldly CGI planet is designed seamlessly into an earthly situation (although the time period is unclear, with almost period-era dress but contemporary technology). Hence, the grey line of then/now/later and realism/unrealism forms a really unique design aesthetic, bringing to light a physical illustration of mental struggles. I also found the music a really strong aid to the camera techniques. There are often really high-quality, slow-motion action shots, with still characters amidst a dystopic and destructive scene. The music is grand and reminiscent of a simpler time, one that we envy our grandparents for. A time where families would dress up for the opera or an orchestra, and be taken to world where sound and mood romantically interplay. Utilising this motif amongst a fractured family situation, and in particular, a character crippled with misery creates an eerie contrast of beauty and brokenness.