- The Washington Times - Friday, May 23, 2008

French New Wave in style but utterly modern in tone and universal in scope.

“Reprise” begins with two young men standing before a mailbox, each grinning at the other as each grips an envelope containing his first novel. Imagine what would happen if both books were published to great success. The film shows us - the two friends might enjoy their acclaim together before drifting apart as both become emigres, finally reuniting during a chance meeting at a cafe abroad.

That’s not a likely scenario, though, so within a few minutes, the film rewinds to that fateful moment at the mailbox, and Mr. Trier and co-writer Eskil Vogt show us what really happened: One book is published; the other is not. Unexpectedly, it’s the successful author who turns out to be beset with real problems.

Erik (Espen Klouman-Hoiner) is handling rejection well. He keeps plugging away at his novel with a mouthful of a title - “Prosopopoeia” - in between checking out live music and wandering around Oslo with a group of friends who are rather stunted in their development. Phillip (Anders Danielsen Lie), on the other hand, has had a mental breakdown after winning acclaim for his novel, and he can’t even turn on the computer anymore.

Their personal lives parallel their professional ones: Though not much in love anymore, Erik can’t break up with his girlfriend because she treats him so well, while Phillip is obsessed with his, a muse who also seems to have contributed to his suicide attempt.

This all may sound pretty dark - and the frenetic soundtrack includes a heavy dose of the bleak Joy Division - but “Reprise” is actually a wonderfully funny, touching film about friendship, hero worship, art, love and life. The mostly inexperienced cast members put in heartfelt performances that add to an overarching sense of realism in a fiction that keeps drawing attention to its status as fiction. We know we’re watching a movie, but it’s one that might have taken place in our own city, amongst our own generation.

Writers love writing about writers. “Reprise,” thankfully, isn’t just another story about the angst of storytellers. It captures, as few recent films have, the problems of living, period.


TITLE: “Reprise”

RATING: R (Sexuality and language)

CREDITS: Directed by Joachim Trier. Written by Mr. Trier and Eskil Vogt (in Norwegian with English subtitles).

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

WEB SITE: www.reprise-themovie.com


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