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Wristcutters: A Love Story | Review

Pale Riders: Cheating death in the after life has its share of highs and lows.

Best described as a road trip romance for the dearly departed, Wristcutters: A Love Story aims to tickle the funny bone by way of the topic of suicide. The unexpected is to be expected when a real-life character like Tom Waits becomes part of the fabric of such a project and while Goran Dukic’s directorial debut is branded with both a weirdness and a touch of Kustrica-esque personality that may offset the low-budget look of the film, it is the loss of momentum and perhaps the repetitiveness that sucks the ‘life’ out of the unique point of view that is offered on what happens when folks kick the bucket.

Inspired by the 98’ novel by Etgar Keret called Happy Campers, Dukic’s screenplay mashes a bank of folks in transit with a landscape of desert with junkyard waste. The narrative explores how each character bought their ticket to the afterlife – these flashback episodes summon the bigger laughs of the film specifically in the case of an unlucky Russian rockstar. What is unfortunate in this trip formula, is that the zany characters and stops along the way give witness to the accidental or successful deaths of characters but it never ponders asking the necessary – why suicide?

Leads Patrick Fugit and Shannyn Sossamon are great candidates to vehicle the incoherence of their dilemma and to demonstrate how youth and untimely death is a tragedy in itself, but one can’t help but feel that this is a comedy that funnels as many possible jokes one could think of in such a predicament. Dukic offers a screenplay that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but a little more investment in style (only shifts in color tones conclude that aesthetic choices were made) could have made a Wristcutters: A Love Story into a distributable Donnie Darko. The lack of meaning will make this Sundance entry a difficult sell.

January 24 – Sundance 2006.

Rating 2 stars

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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