Best of 2006: Wristcutters

Not worth dying for, but at least worth a torn fingernail or two

archive review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 24 Jul 2007
Essentially a run-of-the-mill road trip movie through dusty Americana, Wristcutters: A Love Story is given its obligatory quirky arthouse edge by being set almost entirely in the afterlife, an afterlife reserved for those who have killed themselves. In this barren, Emo-laden netherworld populated by ashen faces and intriguing scars, a youthful suicidee (Patrick Fugit from Almost Famous) goes in search of his recently deceased ex-girlfriend.\r\n\r\nThe catalogue of suicides is surprisingly free of cloying backstory, giving Wristcutters a decent pace, and the whole thing is very prettily shot in grainy, saturated colours, but the forced quirkiness never quite finds its rhythm, meandering from miracles and black holes to delusional cult leaders. Though Tom Waits, wrongly billed by the festival as a cameo, in fact has a main role, his acting skills lend a lot less to the screen than a couple of his songs do to the soundtrack. Trying for the (already rather obtuse) darkly comical corner of the quirky market, Wristcutters does not succeed, as it is too self-conscious in its suicide-driven darkness and too light on the comedy. However, the attractive and likeable leads and deadpan performances make this road trip perhaps not worth dying for, but at least worth a torn fingernail or two.