Monday, June 30, 2008

Reprise (2006)

Erik and Phillip are friends and they are writers. Both write a novel and send it off to a publisher. Overnight, Phillip (right) becomes a success. Erik (left) isn't as lucky, not just yet. Soon after, Phillip has a breakdown and ends up in a psychiatric hospital. Upon his release, he doesn't write. Erik encourages him but Phillip doesn't seem to have it in him any longer. Erik has continued to write, fueled by Phillip's success. Then, their roles of power shift somewhat and the movie takes another turn, rich with love, obsession, admiration and enduring friendship. It's about striving for something and then dealing with the reality which may be different than anticipated.

Watching Reprise is like going to an fantastic party. You show up. It takes time to get started. You engage in some conversations. The party gets rolling and you are having a blast, you're listening to great music, dancing, meeting new folks, exchanging numbers. You know you'll see your new friends again, but wait the party isn't over yet. This movie is long. It might have been shorter but you settle into it quite well, so that when it ends, you wish for it to be mid-swing again. Oh, and the soundtrack is off-the-hook.

(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)

At the end though, you aren't sure what is real and what isn't. Is the ending the story ending or is it really the movie ending? You are left wondering. And, the screenplay writers play tricks on you as well. There's a line in the movie where a famous writer the two characters have greatly admired all their lives, advises Erik not to be too poetic at the end. Is this exactly what the movie does? You decide and let me know.

Themes: friendship, love, writing, success, failure

Director: Joachim Trier

Country: Norway

Genre: Drama

Time: 106 minutes

Scale: 4

1 comment:

Ocho-Gritos said...

I loved this movie, and so far this year it is the one that replays in my head as much as the melody of popular songs; which is not necessarily a bad thing. There are mornings when I awake thinking of the scene where the depressed writer writes again, and I am sick of the melody, while other times during the day I will smile at the beat and cadence of the movie; three weeks after seeing it.
What I found fascinating is the attempt by the movie producers to reflect thought and memory instead of the sequential story telling we have accustomed our minds to accept. The staccato editing and blurps at the start play like a free thought process until it aligns itself on a focused purpose. The theme of how to use immolation either for destruction or acclaim is a great choice; however, I found some of this very elitist and almost suffocatingly central to the Swedish; albeit a truism. Americans tend to cheer for the underdog, and the cinema always rescues the unaccomplished. Redemption! 'Reprise' scoffs at this proletarian and politically appeasing concept and points to the real reason for success in any country: preservance, discipline and the ability to learn from mistakes. The Waltermythonian {cool word huh?}ideal is not discarded but packaged here with the differing levels of success of the friends, which in a stroke of cinematic genius are always presented using 1970s film stock, who have camped at a given level of success. All live in fear of going to the next level and suffering a breakdown like their friend, except his closest friend who uses this nadir to craft his ascent. As you can tell, like Abba's Fernando, the melodious harmony of this film still plays in my brain.