Dear Wendy

"OK"

Dear Wendy Review


A fatalistic allegory about the American adoration of guns and black-and-white morality, "Dear Wendy" centers on a band of teenage outcasts in a faded, one-street mining town who form a cult around their almost literal love affairs with vintage firearms.

Pacifists by temperament and timidity, the Dandies, as they call themselves, soon discover confidence and self-possession in carrying their concealed weapons, which they pledge never to brandish in daylight lest they "wake up and pursue their true nature." But as the club members spend their days on a make-shift shooting range (dubbed "The Temple") deep in the bowels of an abandoned mine building, practicing trick shots, obsessively studying famous killers, and watching graphic film of bullet wounds, they slip into fetish and fantasy, naming their guns, and assigning them personalities, emotions, and even imaginary votes in group decisions.

Written by Danish auteur Lars von Trier, with less supercilious socio-political ignorance than his 2003 American-culture morality play "Dogville," the story is overly dependent on the silly narrative contrivance of the Dandies' insecure leader (Jamie Bell from "Billy Elliot") writing love letters to his antique pistol. A few other absurdities rear their heads as well, like the notion of poor mine workers keeping African-American maids -- an impractical byproduct of the writer's never-ending desire to flog the American culture of denial (about race relations, violence, foreign policy or whatever bee is in his bonnet while banging out a particular screenplay).

For the most part, director Thomas Vinterberg ("The Celebration"), one of von Trier's compatriots from his minimalist, experimental movement Dogme95, keeps these elements in check by keeping the focus on the psyches of the Dandies: These are amorphous young minds, easily influenced and shaken by simple jealousy or by the unexpected self-assurance of a new member among them. The cast -- including Michael Angarano ("Almost Famous"), Chris Owen ("American Pie"), Alison Pill ("Pieces of April"), Mark Webber ("Broken Flowers") and newcomer Danso Gordon -- rises to the challenge of making these kids seem both out of the mainstream and yet uniquely all-American.

Vinterberg also gives the town a dangerously desolate, Old West atmosphere that serves to subliminally foreshadow the direction the Dandies are headed when they decide to put their nascent confidence and ideals to practical use -- and he adds an ironic sense of whimsy to what ensues by overlaying on-screen graphics demonstrating with mathematical precision the effects of a well-fired bullet.

But the film's last act almost completely self-destructs, falling into blind, metaphor-baiting machinations. Its turning point relies on overly simplistic irrationality, and soon "Dear Wendy" is awash in trigger-happy redneck cops and tragedy is on the wind. It's a pity, because taken on its own, Vinterberg's methodically calamitous finale could stand up against similar scenes from most good Westerns -- that is until von Trier's chronic fear of subtlety rears up again to beat his point to death one last time before the credits roll.



Dear Wendy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th February 2005

Distributed by: Wellspring Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 41

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Dick Dandelion, as Krugsby, as Freddie, Danso Gordon as Sebastian, as Susan

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Advertisement
Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.