If there’s anything less funny than suicide, it’s the notion that the afterlife is a simulacrum of one’s pre-offed existence in which everything is “a little bit worse” (for instance, there are no stars and no one smiles). But Goran Dukic’s shaggy yet assured Wristcutters manages to draw humor and warmth from just such a premise, while finding pathos in what could’ve been a vapid, high-concept lark.
Based on a 1998 short story by Israeli writer Etgar Keret, the film concerns Zia (Fugit), a stroppy twentysomething who’s bumming around the suspiciously L.A.-like purgatory when he discovers that his beloved ex-girlfriend has also done herself in. He embarks on a quest to find her, along with devoted Russian sleazeball Eugene (Whigham) and a beguiling hitchhiker (Sossamon) who may be in limbo by accident. The trio ultimately arrives at a camp run by a crusty sage (Waits), at which point the sly jokes begin to give way to twee magical realism. Wristcutters is redeemed throughout, however, by Croatian-born Dukic’s darkly absurdist sensibility and bittersweet understanding that despair is tragically, hilariously portable. Fittingly, it ends with a pair of hard-earned, heart-melting smiles
Cast and crew