Dear Wendy (2005)
Genre: Drama (Denmark, France, Germany, UK)
Directed By: Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration)
Overview: A young pacifist discovers a love for a seemingly juxtaposed hobby, and decides to make a club of it along with some new friends.
Cinematography: The streak of Vinterberg and Trier is ridiculously apparent in the simplicity and photographic beauty as it is merged with ever so minimalist special effects and rare moments of mood building quick cuts. This is the kind of film that is rich in interesting setting and accessories, with a touch of post-production kitsch thrown in to send it just over the line of 'cool' and puts itself under 'art'. Who knew a mining town could look so super wicked.
Script: Written by Lars Von Trier. You're damned right it is. A touch of the Dogville trilogy in the layout of the town, a streak of the suspension of disbelief required for Dancer In the Dark, but the kind of tale you would attribute to literature. The kind of story that speaks simply in it's characters but is rife with symbolism and character growth. I loved it.
Plot: A pacifist goes and buys a toy gun and figures out it's actually a small caliber pistol. He decides to start a little gun club, gathering losers who can extol the virtues of peace with a piece. Strong in the values of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct, this group learns and teaches one another how great it is to be confident in the knowledge that you're safe, how one changes not through carrying a gun, but making friends and gaining knowledge about a rare familiar subject. It's multi-layered, and even the ultra-dramatic ending drives the perfect power and grace required of a story where pistols are the symbol of a courageous self.
Mood: Mother, it runs deep. One of the most interesting coming of age tales I've ever seen, this goes beyond the lame little, "Look mom, I'm growing up!", and goes into a full test of what it means to be a man and standing firm to one's developed morality. It's about respect and friendship, courage and grace, and though a touch over the line, it's that nice fictional touch that dramas need to make them memorable.
Aftertaste: It's interesting settling into a little known film that one's only heard snippets about. Tales of how it's passably fine collide with the knowledge that this is written by a favored director and directed by one who's made one of my top five films to date. Well, go figure I thought this genius. I know why people found this a stretch to the imagination, a film rooted in suspension of disbelief, but that's what makes it so effin' awesome.
What the hell is wrong with people? How can this be so under the radar?