Wristcutters: A Love Story

Wristcutters: A Love Story


Reviewed by: Daniel Hooper

A story like Wristcutters has the great potential of being an exercise in bad taste, which makes the fact that it’s very likeable all the more pleasant. After Zia (Patrick Fugit) commits suicide he is sent to a purgatory of sorts for people who commit suicide, similar to reality except “a little worse”, a world where people can’t smile. After discovering that his ex, Desiree (Leslie Bibb), has committed suicide, Zia and his new dead friend Eugene (Shia Whigham) take a road-trip with a difference across the afterlife to find her, picking up attractive hitchhiker Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon) en route, a girl trying to find a way back to her old life.

Director Goran Dukic balances the tone perfectly. The bleached, drained look is wonderful at defining the difference between the purgatory and the real world, and gives the film a dreamlike feel; the location choice heightens this sense too. The films soundtrack mixes songs featuring artists who committed suicide (Joy Division, Joe Meek), folk-style songs by Gogol Bordello and a wonderful original soundtrack by Bobby Johnston. Its script, meanwhile, based on a short story by Etgar Keret, is both darkly comic, as well as quite touching at points – Wristcutters isn’t a story of despair but of hope, moving on, and, yes, love.

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Wristcutters benefits from inspired casting throughout – the lead trio of Fugit, Whigham and Sossamon fit their parts perfectly and share a good dynamic together. On their travels they encounter a number of funny supporting characters like the enigmatic Kneller (wonderfully played by Tom Wait), the useless mechanic Mike (the depressive typecast Mark Boone Junior) and a delusional messiah (Will Arnett, in a role that will amuse fans of Arrested Development).

As a low budget-film developed with the help of the Sundance Institute, Wristcutters – A Love Story is occasionally a little rough around the edges (see: the black-hole effect) and it’s sensitive subject matter may limit the appeal of this film for some. It should be noted that Wristcutters doesn’t shy away from its subject matter – characters bear the marks of their suicides and the film frequently cuts back to suicide attempts – but it is done in a tasteful way. Wristcutters is a unique film which will appeal to those with darker sensibilities and marks Dukic as a talent to be watched.

Reviewed on: 28 May 2008
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A young man kills himself and awakens in a land where everything is "just a little bit worse".
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Chris ****
Keith Hennessey Brown ***1/2

Director: Goran Dukic

Writer: Goran Dukic, Etgar Keret

Starring: Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, Shea Whigham, Tom Waits, Will Arnett, Cameron Bowen, John Hawkes, Leslie Bibb, Abraham Benrubi, Mikal P. Lazarev, Mary Pat Gleason

Year: 2006

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA

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