15. “Manderlay” (2005)
Lars von Trier’s projected “USA: Land of Opportunities” trilogy fizzled out with this sequel to “Dogville,” swapping in Bryce Dallas Howard for Nicole Kidman as Grace Mulligan, a gangster’s daughter stumbling through hellish chapters in American history. Here, 1933 Alabama is reimagined as a (once again) minimally set-designed Southern microcosm of the U.S. where abolition never reached this corner of the country, and slavery still exists. The novelistic grandeur and even the sick-grinned humor of “Dogville” is lost here in service of a solemn allegory that doesn’t quite land coming from a Dane who refuses to step foot in the U.S., though it’s never less than compelling to see von Trier continue to operate at the height of his ambitions — even if he collapses beneath them.