Reprise

Reprise

This drama about two young novelists in Oslo has been marketed as some sort of slick, fast-paced European hipster movie, ala Run Lola Run, which is a bit disingenuous. There is the occasional stylistic flourish, but mostly it's a solid, no-nonsense story about - well, I can only say it's about growing up, but it makes the film sound sappy, which it isn't at all. Mostly it's about the grueling, insecure act of writing, it's about mental illness, and it's about being a young adult in Norway.

As some of you reading this may know, my father was born and raised in Norway, so I feel an obvious connection to the country and its people, as I have over a dozen cousins, aunts, uncles and so on still over there and visit from time to time. Reprise isn't trying to be an American film or even a German or English film. It is Norwegian through and through, and its characters feel truly authentic as a result. These lads are sort of nerdy, fairly snarky, gossipy and sarcastic. They drink a lot of beer and smoke a lot of cigarettes and have weird haircuts and tend to annoy women (and it's fair to say that Norwegian women are often easily annoyed). They like both punk rock and classic literature. They remind me pretty much of every young Norwegian guy I've ever met.

Trier - who is a distant relation of Danish auteur Lars von Trier (Lars added the "von" himself) - seems to know this world very well, of the educated, erudite slackers who use music and books as a shield against growing up and settling down. And so there isn't a single false note in the film. My only criticism is that it goes on a little too long, and that Trier could have trimmed a couple longer scenes without losing much. But I could connect with Reprise. Others in the theater - who couldn't all be half-Norwegian - seemed to connect with it as well. Its dry humor and its freshness will appeal to those who love foreign cinema and who may be hungry to experience something good for a change.