Wristcutters: A Love Story

Wristcutters: A Love Story

Film review by: Witney Seibold

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            Zia (Patrick Fugit), despondent over his recent breakup with Desiree (Leslie Bibb), has killed himself. Rather than the inky comforting embrace of Death, though, he finds himself in… well, it’s not exactly Hell. Rather than flames and fire and brimstone, Zia finds himself in a world where everything is dirty, none of the appliances work, the apartments are really crappy, the beer is all awful and generic. The beaches are polluted. Everyone is an asshole, and no one smiles. You can get laid, you can work, you can read books, but you spend most of your time bouncing between indifferent, miserable, and really inconvenienced. Life, essentially, is just a little bit suckier for suicide victims.

 

            Zia soon hears that Desiree, though, has also committed suicide. This is wonderful news. He gathers up his horny Russian rocker friend Eugene (Shea Whigham), and they get into his tin-can car on an aimless roadtrip to find her (an amusing thing about the car: if you drop something under the seat, it falls into a black hole and vanishes forever). On the way, they pick up Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon) who has “just arrived,” and needs to find the people in charge in order to appeal her suicide decision. The three form a fast friendship, in a non-smiling sort of way.

 

            Then Tom Waits shows up as a creepy desert prophet (and few can play creepy desert prophets like Tom Waits), and explains some of the mechanics of this afterlife, and the story takes a new direction toward a man who claims he can perform miracles.

 

            “Wristcutters” contains the very spirit of independent film: low budget, but high concept. The idea that you go to a poor and dirty version of Chino, CA when you die is an amusing one. This afterlife is not so much about suffering as it is about discomfort and indifference. I liked that. I liked the performances from the three leads (even from Sossamon who can occasionally grate), and every time Waits opened his mouth it was funny. The low budget may be in evidence, but the filmmakers’ passion easily outpaced it.

             The concept may seem, in my description, a bit too precious; like a Goth kid’s fantasy concocted for a sophomore writing assignment. I assure you it is not. The concept work, the film keeps it small, and the messages of hop ultimately begin to leak through. Director Goran Dukic has been nursing this film for years, and his labor has paid off. “Wristcutters” is a fun and quietly fascinating film.

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Published in: on December 3, 2007 at 10:04 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. The purgatorial premise is pleasingly eccentric but, in the end, Wristcutters falls victim to its washed-out mood, and limps bloodlessly to a close. Good review, check out mine when you can!


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