Norwegian Joachim Trier directs his debut feature, Reprise, with such assured kineticism that it’s only a matter of time before Hollywood gets his hands on him and turns him into an anonymous hack. That’s not merely cynicism or a judgment call on Trier’s foregrounded visual flair, which, unlike most other flashy films pitched at the speed of youth, actually contains more true invention than gimmick; it’s just a sad fact of a ravenous industry that subsumes European directors the same way it snatches up the new foreign, art-house ingenue and plunks her down as the latest Bond girl—it only sees the surface sheen. Trier’s considerable talents will be easy to exploit: Reprise courses on the amiable full-tilt thrill of first-time filmmaking. And though the film perhaps tries a mite too hard to ingratiate itself to the viewer (rarely does it leave an emotion not underlined), its rhythms are well matched to its two main characters’ restless pursuits for niche fame and artistic fulfillment.
In the rocket-fueled opening montage sequence, twenty-something writers Erik (a lanky and lovely Espen Klouman-Hoiner) and Phillip (tightly coiled Anders Danielsen Lie), longtime friends out of school and still living in Oslo, mail their respective manuscripts and imagine, in a series of flash-forwards, their possible futures (in these fictional could-have-beens, as speckled with self-conscious, idealized pain and regret as they are with true success, one of the boys even ends up enacting a heady romance with the suicidal daughter of a French publishing magnate: the dark daydream of spoiled bourgeois boys everywhere?). Click here to read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of Reprise.