Friday, March 28, 2008

Wristcutters: A Love Story

This is one of those movies that I wanted to see in theaters but couldn't really justify spending the money on. It looked good enough but it wasn't a "must see." And while I still wouldn't consider this a necessity, it was well worth watching.

Wristcutters, directed by Goran Dukic and based upon the short story Kneller's Happy Campers by Etgar Keret, is your traditional love story: boy loves girl, boy kills himself, boy lives out his after-life, finds out his girlfriend killed herself, embarks on a quest to find her. So the entirety of Wristcutters takes place in a world where all of the citizens are suicides. Everybody is left with their resulting scars and nobody can smile. That's about all that's explained in this world, though, and that's something I feel like should have been delved into a bit deeper. Not having read the short story makes me wonder if any of that stuff was omitted from the movie. It would make sense if none of it was ever brought up in the original story, though. There were so many questions that I never had answered and I'm sure everybody in the after-life felt the same way.

This could also be categorized as a road movie as well as a love story. Zia (Patrick Fugit), the main character who is searching for his girlfriend Desiree (Leslie Bibb), is joined by his Russian rock star friend Eugene (Shea Whigham). They pick up a hitchhiker named Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon) who is looking for the People In Charge, and the fun is found in the journey. They drive a car that has no headlights and a black hole under the passenger seat. Everything dropped down there, from multiple pairs of sunglasses to lighters and maps, disappears forever. They meet strange people along the way and that's what drives the movie. The journey seems less about trying to find Desiree and more of just going somewhere, anywhere. When they end up at a camp (where we find Tom Waits running the place and the under-used John Hawkes), they enjoy themselves almost enough to forget about finding Desiree and the People In Charge. But the desire does come back and off they go, to a creepy Jesus camp type place where the Messiah (Will Arnett) is about to perform an epic miracle.

If Wristcutters was set in our world as opposed to the Suicide World, it probably wouldn't have been as good. But that's what storytellers try to do: take an old fashioned story and put a cool, interesting twist on it. Rarely do I want to read the book that a movie is based upon after I've already seen the movie, but this Wristcutters was just good enough to make me want to do just that. This is a highly enjoyable movie that is different enough to make it interesting but with a traditional foundation that makes it fun and accessible.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Hmm, this sounds intriguing. I had pretty much the exact same reason for avoiding it in the theater as you, but maybe I'll find it again on video one day.