Tuesday, September 2, 2008

MOVIE: REPRISE



Reprise is a Norwegian film from 2006. It is the first feature-length film directed by Joachim Trier. The script was written over a period of five years together with Eskil Vogt. The leading roles are played by Anders Danielsen Lie, Espen Klouman-Høiner and Viktoria Winge. The film was the Norwegian candidate for the Oscar as best foreign language film in 2006.

Erik (Klouman-Hoiner) and Phillip (Lie) are close friends who have known each other since they were children. Erik and Phillip grew up sharing a passion for literature, particularly the work of novelist Sten Egil Dahl (Sigmund Sæverud) and they each dreamed of becoming writers themselves someday. Both Erik and Phillip completed their first novels in their early twenties, but while Phillip's book was accepted by a major publisher and became a best-seller, Erik's book instead earned a sheaf of rejection slips.

The harsh glare of the celebrity lifestyle and his obsessive relationship with his girlfriend, Kari (Winge), cause Phillip to suffer a nervous breakdown, and after a stay in a treatment facility he tries to resume his relationship with Kari and his friendship with Erik. Erik, meanwhile, is still struggling to join the ranks of the published, and his romance with Lillian (Silje Hagen) begins to fray as the frustrated would-be author spends more time with Phillip and his pretentious compatriots.




Reprise is about the troubles of a couple of young guys who are all rather successful. Two of them get their first books published and the movie mostly focuses on them. Every guy in the group seems to be troubled by something or has an issue with someone else. The movie tries to tell us what these characters are going through instead of showing us and that is just one of the problems with Reprise.

Throughout the movie there is a narration, like in Y tu mama tambien, that explains what the characters are thinking, doing and once did. It worked to great effect in Y tu mama tambien but Reprise uses it throughout the film and it becomes like one of the movies annoying characters. All the characters in Reprise are extremely annoying. None of them are likable in anyway and the one who comes close has mental issues along with suicidal thoughts. How can we care about these characters if they are not interesting or likable?

It is a disappointment because you can tell a lot of effort went into Reprise. Took 5 years to write and contains some nice direction. Maybe some things got lost from the page to the screen or just added for effect. For instance, the annoying narration or the jumping in time flash cuts that are similar to Run Lola Run. The fact that everyone in the movie but us knows what these guys' books are about.

I think it would have been a little better if we knew what the books were about. Also getting to know some of the other characters wouldn't have hurt either as you kind of need to develop characters to get the audience to give a flip what happens to them in the end. The ending could have also used a rewrite, but depending on how you analyze the movie, it does that already. Everything seems to tidy up nicely in the end and kind of become a little comical. Is it because thats how it happened or how someone wanted it to happen? The movie never explains it to us. If only the narrator guy had been a little bit better at his job. If only the writers knew how to write before investing so much time into this and my time as well.

REPRISE: 3 OUT OF 10

The DVD contains featurettes and deleted scenes.


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