Reprise
R1 - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James Teitelbaum (9th October 2008).
The Film

What do you get when you cross Richard Linklater with Jean-Pierre Jeunet with Ingmar Bergman?

You get "Reprise", a Scandinavian feature about a bunch of punk rock authors, augmented by a voice-over giving us background information about their childhoods and about things that may have happened to them had their lives turned out slightly differently.

To be fair, the latter technique is something that Jeunet grabbed from Goddard and ran wild with. Also, Linklater is hardly the only person to feature intellectual slam dancers as leading characters. And of course, this feature takes place in Norway, not Bergman's Sweden. But you get the idea: "Reprise" gives us that dark and atmospheric take on life that the denizens of the northernmost reaches of Europe do so well, mixed with a little French New Wave, and plenty of references to British New Wave too: as in The Smiths and New Order. The Clash, Ramones, and Joy Division pop up as well, all in the service of the story of Philip (Anders Danielsen Lie) and Erik (Espen Klouman-Høiner), two young writers with dreams of changing the world via their thoughts and ideas. The two men, who had been friends since boyhood, are obsessed with the writings of Sten Egil Dahl (Sigmund Sæverud). Inspired by Dahl, they become thinkers, and then writers. Erik and Philip submit their manuscripts to publishers simultaneously, but find that the results of their efforts are wildly different.

Erik meets with broad and immediate success, while Philip finds only failure and, eventually, a bout with mental illness. The two men, their cute girlfriends, and their posse of buddies deal with the ramifications of success and failure, both of which take them all into many unexpected directions.

Reprise is shot in a mildly shaky documentary style that goes for verisimilitude over style. Lighting and camerawork are both a bit low-fi, with the directorial focus being concentrated on character development. Philip is only the second character played on film by Lie - his previous film was made sixteen years earlier! - but he imbues the character with a believably distracted sense of confusion and melancholy. Klouman-Høiner, on the other hand, plays Erik as being concerned about his pal, but as a man also trying to enjoy a success that bewilders him.

As the film progresses, the mysterious voice over mostly vanishes, the odd editing and random digressions all but cease, and the story becomes more straightforward as Philip's and Erik's lives become more difficult places to be.

Video

The film is presented in the theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, anamorphic widescreen. There is a blue-green cast over most of the movie that, I suppose, is appropriate to the murky mood of the story. I noticed a few speckles on the print from time to time, but they are very minimal and not distracting unless you're looking for them. Contrast could be upped a notch, but maybe that's personal preference. Running time is 1:47:10, divided into 16 chapters.

Audio

Reprise is presented in the original Norwegian Dolby Digital 5.1, with English, English for the hearing impaired and Spanish subtitles. Ambient sound is minimal, with the emphasis on dialogue. Your favorite English and American post-punk tunes are mixed with some contemporary Scandinavian rock to shake things up between the more serious dramatic scenes. In particular, Joy Division gets a few plays not to mention their logos on several t-shirts on screen. the existential traumas that these characters undergo is probably not too far removed from what Joy Division's Ian Curtis sang about so passionately, so this music is appropriate to the mood of the film.

Extras

"Reprise" is released with a series of five >b>featurettes, a collection of deleted scenes and bonus trailers. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

"Casting Reprise" featurette runs for 7 minutes 19 seconds; Lie and Klouman-Høiner discuss how their involvement in the film came about.

"All In Trier's Details" featurette runs for 8 minutes 4 seconds; Writer/director Joachim Trier talks about the sets, the lighting, the costumes, and other details of the film making process.

"Anecdotes" featurette runs for 11 minutes 56 seconds; Trier and his co-producer sit on a sofa and reminisce about making "Reprise."

"So Sorry" featurette runs for 1 minutes 7 seconds; A fast montage of Norwegian people slipping English phrases (mostly 'sorry' into their speech).

"Love's Not Easy" featurette runs for 4 minutes 4 seconds; Trier discusses the difficulties of filming a love scene.

There are 12 deleted scenes:

- "Angst" runs for 1 minute 22 seconds: Philip and Erik talk by a mailbox.
- "The Sage" runs for 2 minutes 32 seconds: Erik talks to his publisher.
- "Porno Lars" runs for 4 minutes 1 seconds: Lars discusses woman at a party.
- "Hi" runs for 36 seconds: Philip develops his relationship with his girl.
- "Out of Reach" runs for 33 seconds: Philip is scared to touch his girlfriend.
- "Dahl" runs for 24 seconds: Erik looks at a big house.
- "Svein" runs for 1 minute 42 seconds: Erik seen an old friend on the street.
- "Paris" runs for 1 minute 44 seconds: Philip and Kari visit Buttes Chaumont in Paris.
- "Doubt" runs for 1 minute 31 seconds: Erik and Philip talk about their writing.
- "So Wrong" runs for 32 seconds: Erik calls after a leaving Lillian and admits to being wrong.
- "Congratulations" runs for 54 seconds: The cast hears a funny speech at a wedding.
- "Out of Shape" runs for 37 seconds: Erik watches two people jog in the park.

Rounding out the extras are some bonus trailers for:

- "Wall-E" which runs for 2 minutes 24 seconds.
- "Private Practice" which runs for 1 minute 1 second.
- "Dirty Sexy Money" which runs for 1 minute 47 seconds.
- "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" which runs for 2 minutes 9 seconds.
- "Blindness" which runs for 1 minute 35 seconds.
- "Miramax Films" spot which runs for 2 minutes 38 seconds.

Overall

The Film: B Video: B+ Audio: B Extras: B Overall: B

 


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