Reprise

Reprise

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Supremely cynical about love and relationships, Joachim Trier’s debut feature is right about the proximity between madness and creativity. Add youth to the mix and everyone starts bouncing off the walls. Except the girls. They fall in love, get hurt, break away, come back, watch for inconsistencies, retain a little hope in their hearts, feel used and ultimately unfulfilled.

The film is all over the place, which must be intentional. It has a narrative voice (Eindride Eidsvold), which does not introduce itself and vainly attempts to explain motivations and actions. Norwegians are like everyone else, it seems. The young like music, alcohol, sex and, in this case, literature.

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Philip (Anders Danielsen Lie) and Erik (Espen Klouman-Hoiner) are friends who have both written novels. They must be in their early twenties, still excited by life and intrigued by the prospect of fame. Philip’s book is accepted and Erik’s is not, which should put a strain on their friendship, but doesn’t because Erik is one of those instinctively decent boys who thinks only nice things of his fellow stragglers and has feelings of self worth that are too immature to make demands on others.

Philip’s success comes with expectation and he goes mad for a while, hurting his girlfriend Kari (Viktoria Winge) and isolating himself from society. Meanwhile Erik’s three year relationship with Lillian (Silje Hagen) has reached a level of normality that hinges on boredom. He hasn’t noticed, because he’s slow like that, but she feels angry about it. And then Eric finds a publisher and he, in turn, becomes flavour of the month.

Trier’s concept is almost satirical in its attack on intellectual snobbery and the media’s insatiable hunger for content, playing on the vanity of writers, but by using a frenetic style that reflects the confused nature of his protagonists, Reprise is difficult to watch. It demonstrates an originality and energy which requires control to make sense of itself.

The true artist abhors control. Trier may yet be acknowledged as Norway’s enfant terrible. He’s already a skateboard champ.

Reviewed on: 29 Mar 2007
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The literary life for two young friends in Norway.
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