Dear Wendy

Dear Wendy


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

If Dear Wendy is the second in Lars von Trier's American trilogy, it goes even further than Dogville into imaginary territory. Nothing rings true, but, then, should this matter?

Jamie (Billy Elliot) Bell plays Dick, a teenage loner in a small somewhere town that once was a thriving mining community. Now it's dead and the mines are closed and he works in the general store.

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Urged on by a comprehensive voice-over narrative, Dick collects a group of disillusioned slackers and creates a secret society that meets down one of the abandoned pits. They dedicate themselves to The Gun, which is all Wendy's fault, since she is one, bought by Dick at the antiques-and-trash shop as a toy, which turned out to be the genuine article, capable of firing real bullets.

The society is dedicated to non-lethal expertise in the handling and shooting of pistols of every size and age. The members start wearing fancy dress and talking in riddles and inventing elaborate codes of conduct. Somehow, the chief of police (Bill Pullman) in this small somewhere town is unaware of a youth gun culture in their midst, until an incident occurs that is truly shocking.

As an example of pretentious filmmaking, Dear Wendy scores high marks. The incomprehensible finale insults the intelligence, since it is totally unnecessary and goes against the grain of the film's ethic.

If you look hard enough you might find an allegory concerning religion and the American way. Perhaps, it is an attack on The War On T'rr'r, the hawks in the rose garden and those who live by the sword.

Or it might be the story of a lonely boy who made friends and allowed loyalty to obscure common sense.

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2005
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Allegorical story of guns and gun culture set in a mythical American mining town.
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Themroc **

Director: Thomas Vinterberg

Writer: Lars Von Trier

Starring: Jamie Bell, Bill Pullman, Mark Webber, Michael Angarano, Danso Gordon, Novella Nelson, Chris Owen, Alison Pill

Year: 2005

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Denmark/France/Germany/UK


Sundance 2005

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