Sunday, July 13, 2008
The tale of two friends and not-so-simple twists of fate, Reprise is first-time Norwegian director Joachim Trier's artful dialogue on art, love and a bit of punk rock. The film opens with best friends Phillip and Erik standing at the mailbox, knowing their whole lives are about to change at the simple act of mailing their first manuscript to the publishers. Fast forward to Phillip, whose novel garners instant acclaim and turns him into a cult celebrity and has had a life-altering breakdown. Erik, still struggling with rewrites of his novel, is still editing away, determined to follow in the footsteps of Phillip and the idol of their youth a mythic Norwegian cult author.
Reprise features great performances from Anders Lie as Phillip and Espen Hoiner as Erik. Espen Hoiner hits all the right notes with his portrayal of the less talented, harder working Erik, who's quiet longing for the status and talent effortlessly attained by Phillip draws us in. Anders Lie is terrific as Phillip, the immensely talented, complicated, complex and fragile artist. Phillip goes through a typical teenage transformation to a gifted adult, later through creative burnout, and a severe mental breakdown over an obsessive relationship with his girlfriend. Erik has a ringside seat for meteoric rise of Phillip and watches with wonder at the unfolding destruction of his friend.
Philip later moves into some surreal headspace where he plays with the idea he can control/transform his reality by counting backwards. The incantation of the counting summoning the intended result. Through a chain of coincidence Erik achieves some assurance and accolades from the mythic author who inspired him in his teenage years. Humorous and angst ridden these characters and their director are interesting to watch.