Director: Goran Dukic

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

WristcuttersThe purgatory where suicides go after death is like the living world "only everythis is a little worse," according to Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006) based on a satiric supernatural short story by Etgar Keret.

Our hero Zia (Patrick Fugit) ponders killing himself a second time, except he figures he'd end up someplace even worse than here.

This purgatory is a world wherein nobody smiles, ever. Other than that everyone lives pretty regular afterlife lives.

The film is full of the cutest damned moments built around wonderfully decaying locations & sets. As we follow the ordinary, downtrodden, purgatorial lives of several characters, we're treated to flashbacks to how each in turn did him or herself in.

Zia heads out on a road trip with his new best friend Eugene the Russian (Shea Whigham, who turns in the best performance), searching for Zia's girlfriend Desiree (Leslie Bibb), who drove him to suicide, but then ended up killinger herself not long after he did.

WristcuttersUnder the passenger seat of Eugene's car is a black hole, through which Zia keeps accidentally dropping Eugene's sunglasses & such.

Eugene happens to have his own theme song, "Through the Roof 'n' Underground," written by the director, & performed by Eugene in his heavy fake Russian accent. It's a great song & I'd actually hoped Tom Waits, who plays a major role in the film, would also sing it, but he doesn't.

Along the way, Zia & Eugene pick up a hitchhiking girl, Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon), who is "looking for the people in charge," since she believes she's been sent to suicide purgatory by a mistake. Afrter all she O.D.'d totally by accident, not design, while shooting heroin.

Further along the largely empty highway they almost run over Kneller (Tom Waits), who had fallen asleep in the middle of the road. He has a nice desert enclave nearby with sundry hangers-on or disciples, as he dispenses wisdom as a sort of homespun preacher. He attracts miracles, but only miracles that don't matter.

WristcuttersIn walking distance of Kneller's enclave is a full-blown relligious cult with which Zia's girlfriend from his former life has gotten herself involved in.

There'll be a fairly major encounter with the King, a sociopathic messianic figure (Will Arnett) likely to be followed off a cliff edge if he demands it.

Only the "P.I.C." (People in Charge) can stop the death cult, though they rarely interfer with things. The dark comedy is all heading toward discovery of true love & angelic intervention, so that the bleakness of the humor can be given a happy ending.

The film was protested for making suicide seem like the road to happiness & love, but the sorts of nutsacks who would ban suicide as an appropriate topic for either romantic comedy or darkly satiric fantasy probably cause more harm than good. A subject rendered taboo as they would have it just goes underground leaving fewing opportunities to stop it.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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