REPRISE (Joachim Trier, 2006)

From Norway, Joachim Trier’s Reprise revolves around two kids in their twenties who wrote novels and dream of literary success. Both drop manuscripts into the same mailbox at the same time. One boy succeeds; his book is accepted and published, and Phillip (Anders Danielson Lie, okay) becomes a minor celebrity. The other’s manuscript is turned down. Phillip cannot cope with the pressure of even such limited success and suffers a nervous breakdown. He never writes anything else. Meanwhile, friend Erik finally does get his novel published. His career rises as Phllip’s stalls and Phillip courts suicide. Both experience rocky love lives.
     This is an annoying film. It is saddled with an intrusive voiceover that tells us what to think about what we see. For its first third or so, the film avails itself of an unpleasant technique, manipulating us into believing that the narrative is proceeding chronologically forward only to pull the rug out from under us by abruptly revealing that we had been dropped into a flashback that is now finished. The contemptuousness and cynicism of this ruse continues until we get a grip on it, at which point it is contemptuously and cynically dropped. Trier is a clever asshole. He is not any sort of artist.
     Cruel, nasty, dank and self-important, Reprise is close to unendurable. It is a despicable film for those viewers who are willing to give their hearts away to fascism.

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