WisFilmFest2007: Schabow on "Wristcutters: A Love Story"
Post by Adam Schabow on 4/14/2007 11:10am
It's 1:30 a.m. and I should be in bed right now. After all, my plan was to get a good night's sleep and be well rested when I write my movie reviews. But after seeing a movie like Wristcutters: A Love Story, I realized that there is no getting sleep for me tonight. It's just one of those movies you can't help but immediately talk about afterwards - or in my case tonight, write about afterwards.
Wristcutters opens with a 20 year old named Zia (Patrick Fugit AKA "the kid from Almost Famous") committing suicide and entering the afterlife reserved only for suicidees. But this is no heaven or hell. Zia describes it as a world where "everything is just the same, but just a little bit worse." For instance, there are no stars in the sky, it is physically impossible for anyone to smile and while there is a god entity, they are described only as the PIC (People in Charge), and no one really knows if they truly exist or what their true objective is. After adjusting to life in the afterlife, Zia learns that his girlfriend on earth has just committed suicide and has entered this new world. He hits the road to find his true love with a little help from his Russian friend, Eugene (Shea Whigham)Ã¢â‚¬Â¦and now this is when the movie get's REALLY weird.
While on the road, they pick up a hitchhiker named Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon) - a rule hating, sign breaking recent entry into the afterlife. She is on a mission to locate and explain to the PIC that she did not commit suicide but only overdosed by accident, and therefore, is in the wrong afterlife. The three form an unlikely friendship and bond while searching for their holy grails.
During their journey, they come across an off-beat savant named Kneller played wonderfully by Tom Waits. Kneller runs a magical, trashy Oz-like retreat called "The Camp" where he holds class every night to talk about trees and philosophy and where strangers are more loyal to him than his dog. As a side note, I did not know Tom Waits was in the movie and I was so surprised and happy to see him as I am a big fan of his music and acting. But this is no cameo role, this is a Jim Jarmusch role for him. He is in much of the movie and he is, of course, great as the kind of crazy, God-like Father figure to the three heroes of the story.
But at the core of it all, Wristcutters is a simple roadtrip movieÃ¢â‚¬Â¦just a really fucked up one. It's also a movie that could have failed easily if taken in different directions. Sometimes when independent movies have weird concepts like these, the film can be too self-involved and be more about satisfying the artists rather than about the audience. Luckily for us, writer/director Goran Dukic perfectly balances his artistic layered vision without forgetting that we are watching things unfold and deserve to be entertained.
This is the type of movie I love. It's experimental, quirky, adventurous, funny, sweet and even mythical to some extent. It is all these things without taking away the heart and the fun message of the story. Wristcutters: A Love Story is my favorite movie so far at the film festival and to be quite honest, it is going to be hard to beat.
Business Committee Member, Contributing Writer
Besides being on the Dane101 Business Committee and writing for Dane101, Adam Schabow is also a musician and frontman for two local pop groups, The Shabelles (www.theshabelles.com) and The Kites. Currently, he the co-creator and co-host of the local Madison internet talk show "DrunkDial101" (www.drunkdial101.webs.com) with fellow Dane101 contributor Joshua James.
Adam is also working on a musical called "Eat the Truth" and a documentary about dumpster diving called "Trashed". He was previously the local film critic for The Wisconsinite.