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22 June 2010

Dear Wendy

directed by Thomas Vinterberg

While I definitely feel that this film has its weak points, Thomas Vinterberg’s film about the gun crazy trials and tragedies of pseudo small town America is worth watching, if for no other reason than to glimpse another example of this vacuous America that, though he has never experienced firsthand, Lars Von Trier feels compelled to relentlessly criticize. Though the phobic filmmaker has never set foot on US soil, much of his work focuses on what he must see as the nasty and brutish land of opportunity, an opinion that burns brightest in Dogville. In Dear Wendy, Von Trier hired his script out to Thomas Vinterberg, who in turn transformed the already surreal and, in many ways, ludicrous story into a surreal and hypnotic film. The flourishes are wonderful in the way that Dogville’s lack thereof was powerful, and Vinterberg finds a rhythm that works against Von Trier’s Zombies infused soundtrack and gun worshipping teenagers. Jamie Bell is remarkable as Dick Dandelion, loner and general oddball who forms a strange bond with a pistol he names Wendy. With his “partner” in tow, Dick befriends other misfits and forms a sort of gang, dubbed The Dandies, and the members select partners of their own. It all leads up to an unconvincing crescendo, but the journey is still worth it. If nothing else, the sequence in which The Dandies brandish their partners as Time of the Season plays is bad as all get out.
Note: Why all the hate for America, Lars? It’s easy to scrutinize and insult from the comfort of your own home, but things look awfully different up close. My house is wide open if you’re up for a little couch surfing. I’ll take you around Detroit and you can check us out in real life. I’ll be sure to stock up on vodka and wine.

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