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Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)

Written for the screen and Directed by Goran Dukic Inspired by the short story “Kneller’s Happy Campers” by Etgar Keret

   The film opens up to Zia (Patrick Fugitappearing to be at his wit’s end while lying on the floor of his room. He suddenly emerges and has appeared to come to some sort of realization that he is in need of cleaning up his life, starting with his room.  Once finished he proceeds to the bathroom and we are left to wonder for a minute or so as to what he could be doing. A close up revealing that his wrists had been cut as he slowly slumps down to the ground. Now, I won’t try to pretend that the topic of suicide is in any way not a serious matter. Or that watching this movie may be hard to see for some, for whatever personal reason on their own. But a love story it claims to be and what was wholly achieved in this delightful morbid comedy that is sure to capture your heart and warm your soul.

  Goran Dukic has created a bizarre yet fascinating interpretation of what happens in the afterlife if committing suicide. What I’ve titled this review is said by Zia rather early on and does sum up how “life” is in this world. They still have rules, officers and hangouts for those in the realm. The one downfall besides the obvious of course, is that they were not allowed to smile. Zia works in a pizzeria in which the owners have also helped him with offering a place to stay but was rarely home.

   While at a bar one night he’s approached by Tania (Azura Skye) who inquires as to what had brought him there, a game her and her friend liked to play while out. Zia decides to go back to their table and play the game when they’re interrupted by Eugene (Shea Whigham) who insist they try and guess how he ended up there. Though the girl’s ditch the two before getting his answer but are left to become more acquainted. Eugene brings Zia to his house to introduces him to his family. His mother was the first to commit suicide of which shortly after, his father refused to live without her and took his own life. Eugene’s younger brother had threatened suicide at the age of 10 when his soccer team had lost the chance of going to the championship. When he asked Eugene to give him one good reason as to why he shouldn’t go through with it he received a slap in the face claiming it had worked, up until a couple of months ago. Eugene taking his own life while playing a gig (both lead singer and guitar player in his band) stating “Fuck it all” before pouring his beer onto his guitar and electrifying himself.

  While picking up groceries for his roommate Zia runs into an old acquaintance played by Jake Busey (Brian). He informs Zia that people must be on to something when saying that suicides come in threes. That shortly after Zia’s death his ex Desiree (Leslie Bibb) had taken her life as well. Convinced that finding her would finally make happy and able to move on with his life, in a sense. Eugene accompanies him in taking a road trip to find her stating “You got anything better to do?” While setting off on their escapade they come across a hitchhiker by the name of Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon). Quick side note: the names in the film may seem unique; however they are as well the real names of other cast members in the film. She was also on a search, for the people in charge claiming to have been there by mistake. But waiting until much further into the film as to detailing why she considered it as such. 

  The road trip becomes the necessary tool in helping the three bond using Eugene’s music to sing along to. Underneath Eugene’s passenger seat is an unexplained vortex that seems to seize anything close by. Its first victim being the only other cassette tape in the car. Well into their trip an incident occurs while getting gas requiring Zia to leave behind information including what he was thinking while the incident occurred. (They drove off while the nozzle was still filling up) Unaware of what to put down he begins glancing at others examples to find the familiar writing style of Desiree. Certain they were headed in the right direction, the three continue on in the middle of the night. Veering off into a ditch in order to avoid hitting someone lying in the middle of the road.

  Distraught and lost attempting to find his missing dog they inadvertently come across Kneller played by Tom Waits. Withholding a few secrets of his own Kneller leads the three to what appears to be a refugee for other lost souls with otherwise nowhere else to go. Eventually finding Desiree residing with the Messiah (Will Arnett), claiming to show his followers the way by taking his own life again and coming back holy. Not realizing how ridicules his idea actually was as it falls through and Kneller along with members of the P.I.C raid the ceremony telling everyone to get out. Mikal is separated from Zia but not before telling him that she would be right back; a bad omen according to Eugene. Stating earlier in the film that when a girl usually says that, she never comes back. Saying goodbye to Eugene who had found his kindred spirit to travel forward with as Zia finds himself alone with only Eugene’s car. What happens next is best described as divine intervention as the movie comes to its conclusion.

  There really is something beautifully brilliant about this film that I took akin to. While the material itself may seem a bit too discerning for its audience, it’s often the movies that are not afraid to take real life struggles and portray them with such significance I take a liking to. A cult classic essence is certainly attached to the project itself which means it may actually be several years before people may even begin to hear about it, if at all, if they even care. However if your able to laugh back in life’s face, as it may often do to you, it is certainly worth a watch and ends with a note asking you to take a second look around. It does get better.

   “Zia: Being here with you reminds me of what I was like before my suicide.                               Mikal: What were you like?                                                                            Zia: I was happy…”