Thursday, July 22, 2010

5. Wristcutters: A Love Story - 2006 (USA)

When you sit down to watch a movie with a title like this knowing at some point Tom Waits and Will Arnett are gonna pop up, you know you're in for a good time.

Based on a novella by Israeli author Etgar Keret (which explains why it's so wacky), Wristcutters is set in an afterlife reserved solely for those who die by their own hand. In the movie it's described as "just like real life, except worse." You still have to get a job, but it's at a crappy pizza parlour called "Kamikaze"; you still have to find a place to live, but your roommate is a jerk. And as a final kick in the guts punishment for offing yourself, in this world, you can't smile.

So here's Zia, who slit his wrists after his girlfriend Desiree dumped him, sitting in bars with his few sort-of friends passing the time by playing games trying to guess how strangers committed suicide. You get the general black comedy gist here. But then one day a mutual friend from real life tells Zia just months after he committed suicide, Desiree killed herself too. So, along with Eugene - a Russian guitarist who electrocuted himself on stage - Zia goes on a search to find Desiree. Along the way they pick up hitchhiker Mikal who's convinced her death was not suicide and is seeking the PIC (People in Charge). The 3 of them travel in Eugene's car - which has a black hole under the front seat that gobbles sunglasses and headlights that can't be fixed even by the most talented of mechanics, and for the most part, have fun... Despite the high level of eyewear lost.
Later they come across Kneller (Tom Waits), the leader of a camp of sorts, and more adventures begin (as only they could with Tom Waits around.) Love happens, miracles happen, and the full craziness of this afterlife is revealed. I tell 'ya, for a movie about committing suicide, this is one that will leave you with warm fuzzies.

Maybe because it was based on a novella, maybe because that novella was the dreamchild of someone so obviously not from the Western world, but I honestly can't believe this concept hasn't been done before. It was widly original, shockingly funny and executed perfectly for the subject matter. This is definitely one to watch if you're in the mood for something so unashamedly enjoyable. 4 stars people!

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