Reprise is one of those rare gems of a movie that steals up on you not so much with a bang as a whisper of silky seduction.
Philip and Erik (Anders Danielsen Lie and Espen Klouman-Høiner) are two would-be writers gripped by youthful ambition. As we meet them, they’ve just posted their first manuscripts to a publisher, and they’re lost in a woozy fantasy of future glory.
But their story will take a radical turn. Philip’s novel is accepted and he becomes an overnight sensation, while Erik deals with a painful rejection. Then, in a dramatic about face, Philip’s life spirals out of control as he struggles to deal with depression and the burden of fame. He shifts restlessly between inspiration and despair, from state care to the streets of Paris accompanied by his long-suffering girlfriend, Kari (Viktoria Winge), and the ghost of his friendship with Erik, who still toils back home.
This is a stunningly accomplished feature debut from Joachim Trier. What begins as a breathless homage to his New Wave heroes – all antsy jump-cutting and excitable camera work – becomes a sophisticated and bitterly poignant examination of youth, and the fragile nature of our dreams.
But this is no gloomy indie flick. Trier is a real filmmaker; too in love with the medium to affect arty indifference and not interested in staffing his frame with hipster friends. He embraces beauty and absurdity, and he’s not afraid of the odd cheap gag or two.
It’s impossible to resist his sincerity, or the passion in the performances of all three young leads. Anders Danielsen Lie is all gaunt cheekbones and haunted eyes; Espen Klouman-Høiner is a languidly charismatic presence; while Viktoria Winge adds just the right amount of sugary sass. These are exciting times for all of them, and for fans of bold new cinematic voices too.
Scando navel gazing sounds like hard work.
Joyously openhearted filmmaking carried by a bravura dash of technical discipline.
Has all the hallmarks of an enduring work.