Saturday, March 29, 2008

Review; Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006) [Reviewed By Kelsey Zukowski]

Wristcutters: A Love Story
Review By: Kelsey Zukowski
Starring: Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, Shea Whigham, Leslie Bibb
Directed By: Goran Duvic
Written By: Goran Duvic, Etgar Keret
Released: 2006
Grade: B+

The whole point of suicide is supposed to be an escape out of the misery that life can pile up on you. However, what if suicide really wasn’t a way out of anything? What if after committing suicide not only did your existence continue but it led you to a more depressing world void of anything and everything that you did love in your past life? This is the setting of Wristcutters: A Love Story. Goran Duvic created this very unique and intriguing film based on the short story, Kneller’s Happy Campers, by Etgar Keret. Duvic builds off of Keret’s ideas of the afterlife with a mix of gloominess yet fun quirkiness at the same time to share his insights on suicide, death, life, love, and inevitable beauty.

Zia (Fugit) felt completely in love with his girlfriend Desiree (Bibb). When she broke up with him though, he just couldn’t see the point of life anymore. So Zia killed himself and didn’t up in hell, heaven, or even in a non-existence state. Instead he ends up in an afterlife that seems like the same old thing as his previous one, except worse. He gets a job at a pizza shop and finds a place to live with his boss who he ends up constantly having arguments with. Everyone in this world committed suicide and ended up here. It is very hot and no one is very smiley. It is essentially a waste land with a few run down places and people who don’t really want to be there, but are stuck there. Zia does make friends with Eugene, A Russian failed rock star. Oddly enough, his entire family is here; they all killed themselves. The closeness seems to be one of the few joys that Zia has seen. He was never very close with his family, but he wonders what having them around would have been like now that it is impossible. More than anything he misses Desiree more than ever.

There seems to be hope when Zia suddenly hears that Desiree killed herself not too long after Zia did. He convinces Eugene to come with him to go on a search for long lost love. They really have no idea where to go, but they do pick up a hitchhiker, Mikal (Sossamon), on their way. She feels that she doesn’t belong here and just wants to go back home. Mikal is on her own search because of this, to those who are in charge of the suicide afterworld. She is hoping she will be able to convince them that she shouldn’t be here and to let her go back. Zia gets closer in finding Desiree, but it turns out that she has moved. They both continue looking and they end up at a campsite where miracles seem to occur. It is rumored that a real miracle of a man removing his soul from his body so he can teach others how to live in a more appealing afterworld. Eugene falls in love with a mute girl who throat sings and Zia and Mikal get to the point where they either have to turn away from what they have been fighting for or find alternatives that may be better.

Patrick Fugit does incredible as Zia in this film. There is such desperation to him, yet there seems to be no solution to it. Even though he was happy when he was with Desiree it is clear that he puts her so high that she is just the way to solve the problems that he has and hopes she will make his gloomy atmosphere perfect. I liked that he wasn’t as gloomy as his atmosphere seemed though. Sure he wasn’t happy with anything really, but he still seemed like someone we could relate to. Shannyn Sossamon brings great life even when her character, Makil, is dead. She brings hope as she believes that there can be a way out of this. She is very down to earth and caring, which works off of the others characters very well. Shea Whigham is very funny as the more ballsy and slightly perverted guy. In the end he remains to be a good friend, he doesn’t even have to be on this trip but is doing it for Zia and later Mikal too.

Wristcutters: A Love Story is different than any other movie I have seen, particularly about suicide. It depicts it as a very negative thing obviously and brings out the fact that it doesn’t solve anything. When Zia is having a hard time, he thinks about killing himself again, but fears waking up somewhere once again even worse than where he is now. Also, it is brought up that these people are just like everyone else. They have troubles, they just weren’t strong enough to face them. The film seems much more optimistic than most about suicide. It gives the appropriate balance between the darkness of wanting to die and just feeling worse and more helpless after and a splash of hope and harmonious connection between others. Now the ending isn’t perfect and I could see it disappointing some viewers. However, it seemed necessary with everything the film had worked so hard to establish through out the film.

Miracles are a major part of the film. Zia becomes obsessed with the miracles that people at the camp are able to do. They are simple things like floating in the air or making something change colors. They are meaningless and don’t really change anything. Zia doesn’t seem to have the ability to contribute to them though and wants to so desperately. However, it can only be achieved if you don’t want to and are not even thinking about it. Zia just can’t get it out of his mind though. This has a lot to do with patience. If he would have given himself time, he could have either gotten back together with Desiree in his old life or he could have moved on, possibly to something even better. Also when someone is in the dire situation to even consider suicide, often they are hoping that there is something that can stop them. A reason to go on living is what they are really looking for, some miracle that can help them find the beauty in life again. Wristcutters: A Love Story goes further to show us that there can be amazing appeal in everything, even the most simple things that you may not really appreciate. You just have to be able to recognize and appreciate it when it presents itself.

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