Thursday, August 17, 2006


This movie could have been titled "Dead Poet's Society in Dogville", but I'm oversimplifying. Combining the character driven directing of Thomas Vinterberg with the sledgehammer allegory of screenwriter Lars Von Trier, Dear Wendy is a heady cocktail of commentary on hot button American issues such as youth violence, gun control and racism. Both the director and screenwriter have said several times that the film is not to be read as a allegory. Yea. Right.

Dear Wendy is told with a dry after-the-fact voice-over narration, by the superb Jamie Bell (remember Billy Elliot? he followed up his debut with the acclaimed Undertow and a small role in King Kong). The story follows a down and out boy in a small US mining town. Rather than face the prospect of a dreary life working in the mines, he forms a club with a few kids the same age (late teens) around town. What does the club do? Why obsess over the tiniest detail of firearms, shoot at targets in abandoned parts of the mine and view footage of what a bullet can do to a human body. Nicknamed "The Dandies," They dress up in frilly 'wild-west crossed with 1960s swinging-British' fashion and listen to old Zombies tunes (the soundtrack on this film is divine, by the way). All is fine an nice and kept underwraps, until a new kid joins and escalates the MO of the club.

While the ending of the film may be seen coming quite early, it is the joy of getting there, combined with the black humour and over the top nature of the film which make it a winner for entertainment. After all, you often see a pacifist film abhor and condemn violence, Dear Wendy offers one that sort of relishes the thought of the storm coming. It is reasonable to say that this is Natural Born Killers done the right way. There are some top notch performances, including Bill Pullman (an under appreciated actor if there ever was one) as the local sheriff, and Alison Pill (an actress who usually does TV shows) are stellar, but Jamie Bell is just bloody fantastic.

If you like your allegorical dramedy black as pitch. Come out and enjoy this slice of Americana written by a fellow who has never set foot on US soil. Drinks at 8pm. Trailers and Showtime at 8:30.


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