22 September, 2008

Reprise (2006)

Back to the future

It's all looking bright up ahead in Oslo for writer best-friends Phillip (Anders Danielsen Lie) and Erik (Espen Klouman-Hoiner), in Reprise (2006) from Joachim Trier (Proctor (2002), Still (2001)).

But then, the Oslo pair mail off their first manuscripts, and the film moves (somewhat circuitously) forward to the present, where we quickly learn about the less glamorous paths that their lives take, as Phillip suffers a nervous breakdown following his book’s well-received publication and Erik learns that his work will soon also make the printed page. Phillip and Erik’s brotherly relationship, their close links with their diverse peer pals, and Phillip’s lovce for the siren-like Kari (Viktoria Winge) – which has helped pushed him over the edge – are portrayed in Reprise with a keen eye for elation and depression, the two sides of the same coin.

Trier, who co-writes with Eskil Vogt, transcends the exaggerated nature of his splintered structure (comprising jump cuts, flashbacks, flash-fowards, and scenes featuring dialogue heard over images of the speaker’s silent faces), to find a true expression of coming of age - real and reel life mingle.

However, while the narrative feels refreshing, imaginative and witty for quite some way into the 105-minute running time (a touch long), the pace does slacken off extensively towards the end and, although the impressive cinematography and razor-sharp editing ensure some engagement, there's still a sense of the whole lacking depth, as none of the characters seem to develop beyond their flash-bang-wallop beginnings.

Nevertheless, Reprise manages to hold on to its psychological incisiveness, in keeping with the to-ings and fro-ings of love and friendship in a way that is, thankfully, authentic and moving.

Awards: Nominated for the Audience Award, Best Film at the 2007 European Film Awards. Click here for more details.

105 mins. In Norwegian.

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