7/10 | 2.Aug.12
DIRECTOR: Joachim Trier | WRITERS: Joachim Trier, Eskil Vogt | CAST: Anders Danielsen Lie, Espen Klouman Høiner, Viktoria Winge | Norway
Reason #2437 why I wish I knew Norwegian: a substantial amount of Joachim Trier’s Reprise is told in what in English is the conditional tense, but how much is unclear from the subtitles. My guess is lots. The narrative as a whole is splintered and jerky with “conditional flash forwards” (some are comic in a Woody Allen film kind of way, but some are subtler, similar to something Resnais does to different effect in La guerre est finie) and flashbacks as it follows Erik and Phillip, 23 year old best friends from childhood, once they set in motion their dreams of becoming published writers of serious fiction. It is the difference between the dream and its fulfillment that the movie traces as Erik’s manuscript is turned down but Phillip’s is published to great acclaim and he slips into schizophrenia.
In lesser hands this could have been a mawkish tale of a young person of great talent and promise felled by mental illness, but Trier handles it with skill and taste. He also manages to get natural, unforced performances out of his youthful cast who create a believable milieu of a group of young men making their first adult choices. The two leads are standouts. Espen Klouman Høiner is excellent as Erik, an overgrown teenager filled with uncertainty and fanciful dreams about what the future might hold, but Anders Danielsen Lie as the haunted and we fear doomed Phillip is superb. In other hands Phillip would have been a mass of ticks and grimaces, but Lie underplays the role beautifully. It’s hard to believe he’s a physician and not a professional actor.