Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
If there was ever a movie that seems written and directed by its characters, that movie is Joachim Trier's "Reprise." Here is an ambitious and romantic portrait of two young would-be writers that seems made by ambitious and romantic would-be filmmakers. In the movie, the young heroes idolize Norway's greatest living writer, who tells one of them his novel is good and shows promise, except for the ending, where he shouldn't have been so poetic. The movie itself is good and shows promise, except for the ending, when Trier shouldn't have been so poetic. Not only does "Reprise" generate itself, it contains its own review.
The 23-year-old heroes are Erik and Phillip. They seem to be awfully nice boys who have some growing up to do. It opens with the two of them simultaneously dropping the manuscripts of their first novels into a post box. Then an anonymous narrator takes over and describes some possible futures of the characters and their novels. We will be hearing a lot from that narrator, and he, along with Erik and Phillip and Phillip's girlfriend Kari, remind us inescapably of Truffaut's "Jules and Jim."
The movie is set in Oslo, with a visit to Paris. I have been to Oslo, and it's nowhere near the gray arrangement of apartment blocks and perfunctory landscaping that we see in the movie. (Nor is it Paris.) I have met Norwegians, who are nowhere near the bland, narcissistic Erik and Phillip.
The big problem with the movie is our difficulty in working up much real interest in the characters. They're not compelling. Even when Phillip becomes so obsessed with Kari that he has to be accommodated in a mental institution, and even after (back on the streets) he takes her to Paris on the exact anniversary of their first trip there, it's impossible to see him as passionate. His emotions never seem to be at full volume.