Dear Wendy – Review

Worth seeing: for the fine performances that can't stop a potentially interesting drama degenerating into a pointless fantasy
Director:Thomas Vinterberg
Featuring:Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, Bill Pullman, Chris Owen, Danso Gordon, Mark Webber, Michael Angarano, Novella Nelson
Length:105 minutes
Certificate:15
Country:Denmark
Released:5th August 2005

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Dick (Jamie Bell) is a loner, living one of those sleepy US towns where nothing ever happens and everyone knows each other.

Forced to go to a birthday party of someone he hates, he buys the worst present he can find – an old toy gun.

But it turns out to be real. He becomes drawn to it and decides to keep it.

Discovering that he shares an inexplicable admiration for firearms with his fellow shop assistant Stevie (Webber), Dick forms a secret society for his fellow outcasts.

In an abandoned coal-mine, rebranded as the “temple” to their god-like weapons, the Dandies share their peculiar, pacifist passion for gun culture – until events force them to challenge their opposition to actually using their weapons.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Written by Lars Von Trier and directed by Thomas Vinterberg, the latest film from the Dogme founders turns out to be every bit as odd and as self-importantly arty as you’d expect.

It starts promisingly, exploring interesting ideas: how you can admire the mechanics of firearms, while abhorring their use; how the discipline of gun culture can give a sense of community and purpose to a group of disparate losers.

But the film degenerates into an ironically pointless and tragic gun-battle that undoes everything the film’s being working on.

What starts as an interesting exploration of an unusual premise becomes a fantasy, so far removed from reality as to render it almost meaningless.

Fine performances – not least another mature leading turn from Jamie Bell – are sadly wasted.