Feeling depressed about breaking up with his girlfriend, Zia (Patrick Fugit) decides to kill himself. Unfortunately, he soon discovers that the afterlife isn't much of an improvement. Instead of pearly gates and comfy clouds, Zia is trapped in a netherworld version of smalltown America reserved exclusively for suicides. He has a dead-end job at a pizza joint and a flatmate who hates him. It's dark subject matter, but Goran Dukic's film is whimsical and determinedly optimistic about life.
The suicidal limbo of Wristcutters feels a lot like a Jim Jarmusch movie: nobody smiles, everything looks second-hand and you never know when Tom Waits is going to show up. Zia passes the time in this colourless world by guessing how his fellow sufferers have topped themselves, until the news that his ex has also killed herself gives him a perverse ray of hope. He immediately sets out to find her, with the help of a sex-crazed Russian punk rocker (Shea Whigham) and a grumpy hitch-hiker (Shanyn Sossamon) who claims to be looking for "the people in charge".
"A SANDSTORM OF QUIRKINESS"
Essentially a slacker road movie set in the land of the dead, Wristcutters is a film bursting with ideas that never quite come to fruition. Dukic's vision of an afterlife where "everything is the same, only a little bit worse" is a wonderful concept, but one that is all too quickly buried beneath a sandstorm of quirkiness. Suicide itself is treated lightly, perhaps too lightly: most of the characters get their own humorous death-flashback, and everyone is essentially a hopeless romantic. There's none of the barbed contempt that distinguishes the best killing-yourself comedies - Heathers, for instance - but the film does have an attractively melancholic tone and a very sweet ending.
Wristcutters: A Love Story is out in the UK on 23rd Nov 2007.