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More style than substance
bandw26 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I found the presentation of this story of friends Phillip (Anders Danielsen Lie) and Erik (Espen Klouman-Høiner), two aspiring young novelists, to be distractingly self-conscious. The flash backs, flash forwards, omniscient narrator, abrupt cuts to a blank screen, and speculations about scenarios that might have been, impeded the storyline rather than propelled it. If through these devices director Trier was trying to frequently draw our attention to the fact that we were watching a movie, then he succeeded. The style did not work for me.

Very early on Phillip suffers a nervous breakdown and is consigned to a mental institution. Once he gets out of there he sleepwalks through the rest of the film in an affect-less daze. It's hard to judge Lie's acting based on this undemanding role. Actor Sigmund Sæverud adds some much needed gravitas as a reclusive older writer, but Viktoria Winge (as Phillip's girlfriend Kari) is the highlight, she captured my attention whenever she was on screen.

I felt that I never got to know Phillip or Erik well. How were they making their livings? At least we see Kari working as a telemarketer. I know it is hard to dramatize someone sitting at a desk and writing, but we so rarely see Erik writing that it is hard to believe writing is the central focus of his life.

Most good novels are rooted in the life experiences of their authors and display an impressive talent for observation. What life experiences did either Phillip or Erik have that would form the kernel of a novel? Both were living at home with their mothers and hanging out with rather pedestrian friends. The guys never showed any depth of personality or intellectual curiosity that I would associate with being a fiction writer.

In a hilarious send-up of TV shows where authors are interviewed, Erik allows as how his novel is a search for "the absolute language," a language which can grasp all the world's nuances. That scene made Erik look a bit of a fool and did not inspire me to think his novel was of any consequence, hence it was hard for me to take him, or the movie seriously.
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Amazing first feature from a director to watch
Margie241 April 2007
This film is intellectual without being arrogant, hip and stylish without being pretentious, and brimming with youth and energy without being juvenile.

On a simplistic level, the film can be described as a coming of age story about two Oslo twenty-somethings who are writers. The scenes when they are hanging out with their friends contain witty, realistic dialogue and interactions. But this is a very rich, complex film. A unique, fresh narrative structure, depth of emotion, brilliant character development, beautiful photography, and terrific acting- this is really a film that has nothing simplistic about it. At times incisively funny, at other times angst ridden and sad, the film takes the viewer through the gamut of emotions experienced by the characters.

I didn't always know where the story or characters were going (I don't think the characters themselves did), but the director/writer was always in charge and confidently in control of every frame, yet not manipulative; I was a very satisfied viewer when the credits rolled and loud applause broke out in the audience at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Keep your eye on Joachim Trier- he's going places.
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Quirky, bittersweet, screwball comedy Norwegian style
rasecz2 April 2007
Five good friends. Young men not yet settled into career lives. Two are trying to become authors. Phillipe gets published quickly, while Erik is struggling to get his first book out. Phillipe proves to be suffering from a psychosis that interferes with his writing. That is in a nutshell the film's backbone. However there is a lot more going on.

The complex narrative with multiple characters is told in a quirky, original style. Time-lines are heavily sliced. Multiple takes are intercut into seamless conversations. Explanatory flashbacks are inserted almost as if they are part of the action. And so on. It's all fresh, fast moving, and fun to watch.

It is a bittersweet story of young adults leaving behind the carefree existence of dreamers and gravitating towards the settled lives of older adults. The characters are well conceived. Their antics and clever dialogue provide much of the material for the many funny screwball moments. Great debut film for the director.
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Youthful New Wave-ish wit from Norway
Chris Knipp13 May 2007
Joachim Trier's smart, witty first film about a group of talented Oslo twenty-somethings won a prize at Toronto and was Norway's Oscar entry. 'Reprise' focuses on Erik (Espen Klouman Hoiner, who's blond, and smiles practically all the time) and Phillip (Anders Danielsen Lie, dark-haired, crew-cut, and wide-eyed). They're well-off, presentable, and ambitious young men (and best friends) who try to launch writing careers by submitting manuscripts at the same moment. They also share a passion for the same reclusive novelist, Sten Egil Dahl (Sigmund Saeverud). The film amuses us right away by showing a series of alternative possible outcomes to the young men's ambitions with quicksilver editing and a bright voice-over--a light approach which, with the close artistic friendship in the story's foreground, brings up memories of the Nouvelle Vague and especially Truffaut's 'Jules et Jim.' The screenplay, appropriately for a treatment of young people on the brink of maturity, constantly toys with possibilities, which we briefly see. Much of its charm is in the editing, but the opening segment is such a flood of wit, it's a little hard to sustain it.

Moreover things turn a bit more Nordic and dark when Philip is the one to get published first, but immediately has a psychotic episode--partly attributed by doctors and family to his "obsessive" love for his girlfriend Kari (Viktoria Winge)--that lands him for a while in a sanatorium. Much of the film that follows deals with the problems for Phillip and the problems Phillip poses for others after his psychosis emerges.

Now Erik gets a MS. accepted, a little novel (we guess) called 'Prosopopeia.' He thinks that with this event, he must end his relationship with his longtime girlfriend Lillian (Silje Hagen) -- a decision perpetually put off that may recall Matthieu Amalric's wavering over Emmanuelle Devos in Arnaud Desplechin's similar study of a group of (a bit older) intellectual young people, the 1996 'My Sex Life. . .or How I Got Into an Argument.'

Reprise is full of little ironies, some a bit obvious. There's one friend who acts as a mentor for the guys. He says not to have girlfriends -- they'll make you settle into a life of watching TV series and having nice dinners and give you too little time to read and listen to music, he says. Then, wouldn't you know it, he's the first one to wind up married and living the bourgeois family life. Another easy irony is the way the pretty editor at Phillip's publisher's is first utterly repelled by an older punk rock band friend's politically incorrect and offense chatter, then later is drawn to him like a magnet and marries him.

The film's co-writer Eskil Vogt studied at La Feris, and his French residence comes out in the way two segments of Reprise take place in Paris, where Philip and Kari first discover they're in love and where they go back after his mental problems to recapture the feeling, with mixed success.

Erik and Phillip know where the reclusive Sten Egil Dahl lives and occasionally spy on him. Phillip shoots Erik on a bench pretending to talk with the writer but forgets to remove the lens cap so the photo is a blank. Undeterred, Erik enlarges the resulting black rectangle and hangs it in a prominent place on his wall. Later it turns up as an emblem on the jacket of his book.

Erik performs badly on TV after 'Prosopopeia' is out (arguments over the odd title stand in for a young author's stubborn missteps). He refuses to acknowledge a personal element in his references to psychosis, or anything else for that matter, in his book; and such reticence doesn't go over well on the boob tube. He also reflexively uses a lot of affected finger "quote" marks imitating their mentor, making him look the fool even to his friends. But, in another quick irony, Sten Egil Dahl sees the show, reads Erik's book, and, rescuing him from a mugger, reassures him that he did right on television and that he likes his novel -- or most of it, anyway.

Phillip's psychosis seems to come and go. He can't write any more -- but then he does, though it's unsuccessful, as Erik feels obliged as a best friend to tell him. Phillip has a habit of counting from ten down to zero and we may think when he gets to zero one day he's going to throw himself off a roof or in front of a truck. The darker side is always there, but also the light side. That's why, Trier says, he used lots of punk music but also French poetry in his film. Part of the pleasure in this enjoyable, fresh piece of work is the sense of a group of talented, bright young people at work together making it. The punk band is part of the way the film fills in a whole group of friends from this generation of whom Phillip and Erik are only the foreground. Norwegian film-making plainly is infused with plenty of new blood and in a good period: there were plenty of Norwegian competitors for their Oscar submission this year.

Shown at the San Francisco International Film Festival 2007.
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review from Premier at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2006
ema-4315 April 2007
Reprise is the story of two aspiring writers, Phillip and Erik, who both submit their manuscripts to a publishing house, resulting in the acceptance and overnight success of Phillip's novel, while Erik's is returned to him rejected. "It confirmed what I had always thought. I have no talent whatsoever." The film tells of youthful aspiration, unanticipated tragedy and what consequences this has on young people as they try to make a path for themselves through life.

The film opens with Phillip and Erik standing by a postbox, preparing to send off their literary efforts. Already the scene is tinged with the dreary greyish blue and grey shades that colour the whole film, the two boys clothed in black. The dreariness of these colours (trendy as they are at the moment) add to the film's style but also stains the action with a frustrated melancholy that reflects that of the protagonists', as they come up against failure and difficulty. In this first scene, however, the post box shines out against this backdrop in deep red, a beacon of hope. Already we see the controlled aesthetic beauty of the style, and an attention to detail with which the emotions of the characters are portrayed through visual means.

Six months after Phillip's book is published, we see Erik and Phillip's other friends pick him up from a psychiatric hospital where he has been since a mental breakdown that eventually caused him to come to blows with a glass door. The film treats the issue of madness sensitively and thoughtfully, inspiring empathy and understanding. The young Anders Danielsen Lie is excellent as Phillip, playing the troubled but gifted writer subtly and powerfully. The events are not shown chronologically, to give weight to those things that made the most crashing impact. For example, it is not until Phillip's return form hospital that we learn of the existence of his girlfriend Kari, whom he loved so intensely that it, according to the psychiatrists, triggered his mental disintegration. This side of the story is told separately from the progression of events, giving it a strength that shows just how much it affected him. Similarly, Trier makes use of flashbacks and mixes up viewpoints of situations to show them in the way that they would be remembered - allowing us to understand and associate with the characters all the more. Also, when we see conversations between Phillip and Kari, they are often shown to not be speaking, while their voices play in the soundtrack, and only occasional words are mouthed out. Such techniques portray a scene filled with emotional closeness, and show it how it might be remembered - after all the mind does not retain all details with photographic precision, but holds on more tightly to those which have some emotional importance.

However, the film is not entirely pervaded by this intense mood, which might make it too heavy. Trier still has a sense of humour, and that is what gives the film its completeness. He portrays the charming silliness of the youths with empathy - for example, their great admiration for their literary hero. They find his house, and seeing that he is walking his dog in a nearby park, take a picture where it seems like Phillip is jovially discussing some fascinating topic with his hero. The next shot cuts to their discovery that the photo is completely black. "It helps if you take off the lens cap." Trier's gentle mockery of the protagonists endears us to them, with their youthful ineptitude. I also particularly liked the use of text - when they discover that said hero will probably be present at a book launch party they are invited to, his name flashes up in white lettering that fills the screen in a news headline manner that captures their innocent joy perfectly, and also pokes slight fun at it. In general the film captures the vivacity and excitement of the characters, though still in a controlled manner. After we see them post their manuscripts, Erik narrates a black and white passage which excitedly reels off all their dreams and hopes where they jet off across the world, meeting weird and wonderful women and sparking literary debate, and eventually accidentally find each other again in a café, no, in the street, no, in the metro.. It becomes all the more tragic of course, after all of this, to see how things actually turn out. By showing not only the events of the story, but also the characters' thoughts and memories, Trier gives a full account of the emotions that the characters endure. In addition, the importance of friendships and relationships is also shown through the characters' banter and teasing and stumbles as they try to find the right way to deal with other people. Their hearts are open and we are let into them and bond with them as they are swept along by events.

In the introduction to this film, the audience was told to be kind to Trier and the rest of the delegation, as this was the international premier of this debut film - and the director had never had a feature film shown to any audience ever before. Cheers welcomed them into the hall. And I have to say, I think they are deserved. This is an extremely proficient effort for a first film, which combines sensitivity and dry humour, style and emotional understanding, excellent acting and cinematic control. It is certainly one of the strongest films in the competition this year.
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I wish we could just meet all over again…Reprise
jaredmobarak2 August 2008
Joachim Trier has definitely accomplished something with his debut feature film. The opening sequence is so disorienting that you can't begin to expect what will happen next. Showing a montage of what "could" happen once our two leads mail out their manuscripts, from success to failure to meeting again and succeeding together, is a bold move. I wasn't sure if we had just been privy to the entire film condensed and would soon see the details, or if the title of the film would be taken literally and we'd see a Reprise of the events. Of course, the latter is what occurred. After the montage, we are transported back to that fateful moment of their first novels being submitted for publishing. This time, however, in the real world, only Phillip succeeds in getting a book deal done while Erik is rejected to try again. Both young men then find their lives going in different directions only to converge once more at a dark place for both, a time for a rebirth in life for Phillip and career for Erik.

The gimmick of showing the audience multiple vignettes of the past throughout the film never seems forced. Always seamlessly giving us insight and background into the proceedings, these teleportations through time help flesh out our characters and their motivations. We learn how these two writers got mixed up with a group of friends a little rougher around the edges than them, how Phillip and his girlfriend Kari met, the boys' affinity for author Sten Egil Dahl, and much more. The most brilliant use is when Phillip and Kari go to Paris to relive the journey that made them fall in love the first time. A trip where he hopes to regain those feelings he had been programmed to forget during his stint in a mental hospital, the mixing of scenes from the first time and this current time are nice. The dialogue is overlapping the images, sporadically rejoining with the mouth movements of the characters before getting unsynched again. Words and images don't necessarily have to converge here, whether it the voice of the leads or that of the narrator. A story is being told; we are shown what could happen in their lives, not necessarily the end all.

When the final black screen of Stop is shown, you begin to wonder what other way the story could have gone. What could have happened if Erik found initial success and not Phillip? Would the latter's psychosis still have cropped up? Would Erik have fallen fast into pretentiousness like fellow writer Mathis Wergeland? Who knows? Trier just gives us a glimpse of this one way that it can happen, and for once it is not the easy way out. What continues on as a tragedy, one where you can just feel something horrific will occur, to the point where the director puts us in a sequence that screams suicide is made all the more powerful by the prospect of happiness at the end. The opening introduction ends on a happy note, so there is always hope the meat of the film will too, despite the allusions to epic tragedy of Icarus flying too close to the sun.

Overall, the actual activity of writing a novel has little to do with the meaning of the film. It is just the occupation of these two men, the driving force of their lives and impetus for how they live. What Reprise truly concerns is the meaning of life and how one chooses to live it. It is a cyclical path bringing people in and out of each other's vision for good or worse at the most random times. Relationships play a huge role as well, whether they are romantic or platonic. Erik and Phillip have a bond with one another, a bond that had been forged at a very young age. The two compete yet also prop the other up when they need it most. At times there is jealousy and hatred, but never at their cores. The inclusion of Lillian and Kari only show both men's insecurities in themselves; Erik keeping Lillian away from the friends he hangs with and Phillip unable to accept the profound love he has for Kari. Both writers have dreams, but they are young, and achieving them too fast can have a profound effect on even the strongest soul.

This strong story and deftly handled craft is bolstered by a couple brilliant performances. Sure the group is fun to join with on their excursions—a party towards the end is a lot of fun—yet the main three shine above all else. Viktoria Winge is stunning as Kari, so deeply in love with her broken man, she is willing to pick up the pieces of their relationship after his time away getting help. Trying her hardest to stay patient with Phillip, she does everything in her power to make him remember what it was they felt upon meeting, to smile at the memory of him saying they were always destined to meet and be together. Espen Klouman-Høiner as Erik is very good as well. He is the rock of the group, the one with his head on straight always attempting to help those around him, sometimes at the neglect of himself. At the end, when faced with the dilemma of staying around to help or going away from Oslo to clear his mind and hone his apparent skills from his first novel, the decision weighs deeply upon him. Lastly, and most importantly, is Ander Danielsen Lie portraying Phillip. A deeply emotive soul, he is one who needs to break and fail in order to except the fact that he is fallible. Getting all he wants so early only eats away at him, making him feel that it is undeserved. Needing to find alignment again, it takes time and pain to be able to live once more is happiness.
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I did not like it, here is why
wadjet-79-5278226 August 2013
I like movies, I like new movies, I like not afraid to watch a different movie, also I saw the whole movie. Now, why did I not like this movie? For me, there was no point. There was no beginning or end. No story. Just some character development which was OK, the characters seemed interesting. I like that it was in Norway, I like to see how foreign people talk and act. But besides that, i got nothing from this film. It was to choppy and didn't flow very well. People make fun of me for liking "boring" "deep" "drama" type movies but....This movie was actually boring. It touched on a few things like love, and depression/suicide. But on a very shallow level, just a slight touch. Not enough to feel the depression or love ourselves. I do not mind watching movies that have a slow pace, but they have to pay off with some substance, and this movie made me regret even watching it. I usually always say a movie was "ok" but this one was not. I will still watch Oslo 31 august, to visit Norway again, but Reprise was simply to boring and not impact-full enough.
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Refreshing but hard to follow
Gordon-1115 May 2008
This film is about the lives of two young and budding contemporary writers in Norway.

The style of "Reprise" is refreshing. It is simplistic but real, as it has no special effects or computer graphics. It presents the characters just like everyday characters, as we would see them in every day life that everyone can relate to.

And yet, it is quite hard to understand. The story is told with a lot of flashbacks, and you can't tell they are flashbacks. In addition, there is a lot of external commentary as if it is outsiders watching the lives of the characters. Hence, I find it quite hard to follow.
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Tedious story, pretentious directing, admirable acting.
steve.schonberger19 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Philip (Anders Danielsen Lie) and Erik (Espen Klouman-Høiner) are friends, both writers, both fans of elder writer Sten Egil Dahl (Sigmund Sæverud). They finish their books around the same time, and dare to submit them only by dropping them into the mailbox at the same time.

While awaiting a reply, they hang out with their guy friends, a superficial bunch of misogynists who think girlfriends are a drag on creativity, free time, and ability to be interesting. IMDb lists Henning (Henrik Elvestad), Lars (Christian Rubeck), Morten (Odd Magnus Williamson), Jan Eivind (Henrik Mestad), and Geir (Pål Stokka), but I couldn't keep them all straight.

Philip's book is accepted; Erik's is not. But while Erik suffers self-doubt and possibly, Philip suffers a nervous breakdown.

A voice-over narrator (Eindride Eidsvold) blames Philip's nervous breakdown on his obsessive love for his girlfriend Kari (Viktoria Winge), who is advised not to visit him in the mental hospital to avoid making him worse. He reminisces about the trip he took her on to Paris, where he tricked her into falling in love with him, as he remembered it.

SPOILER PARAGRAPH: Meanwhile, Erik manages to beat his book into publishable condition, and his editor Johanne (Rebekka Karijord) tries to talk him out of his title, Prosopopeia, which the editor considers too obscure. (The film doesn't ever define it; I had to look it up. It's a Greek word meaning "anthropomorphism" or "personification".) When it sells, he feels obligated to dump his girlfriend Lillian (Silje Hagen), apparently thinking himself too good for her once he's a published author. But he wimps out, and sticks with her.

When Philip has recovered enough to be released from the mental hospital, they go back to their routine with the annoying guy friends. He tries to write another book. Kari and Philip meet up again, and they go back to Paris in hopes of repeating the falling-in-love trip (apparently the "reprise" of the title, which means roughly the same thing in Norwegian).

Near the end, someone dies.

Director Joachim Trier uses a style that is distinctive, but I'm not sure it's good. In most shots with more than one person, he frames the people just a little too tightly, with backs of heads in two-shots crowded out, and people on edges of group shots only half in the frame. Every scene seems to have a desaturated blue color to it. To the film's credit, the shots are in focus, and although most or all shots are hand-held they're steady. I rate the directing fair (5).

The director and Eskil Vogt wrote the script. Although the directing isn't much good, the script is the film's worst weakness. Philip is mentally ill, which could make him an interesting subject for a film, but all the film does with his illness is show him enter and leave a mental hospital, and fail to write a decent second book. Erik struggles with his self-doubt and apparent lesser writing talent, but the film's presentation of him is so vague that his struggles aren't interesting either. Their literary idol is vaguely interesting in his brief screen time, but he's a bit part at best. Their male friends are unlikeable, but not in an interesting way – they're just a bunch of guys who hang around and complain about women.

The most interesting characters are the three women. Kari is the best-developed character in the film, even though she gets less screen time than Philip or Erik. Johanne is interesting because she actually does something other than whine about teen-angst, which the mostly late-20s characters should have outgrown. Lillian is a small part, but she's interesting because the misogynist chorus seems to have a special dislike for her, which could be an interesting story.

One good point in the script is that there are a few scattered scenes that are funny – not great comedy work, but at least it was a break from the tedium. Overall, I rate the story lackluster (4).

The acting is all solid, most notably that of Viktoria Winge. But the good acting goes to waste on a script that is dull, and directing that obscures the performances.

One good point of the film was interesting music, featuring Norwegian bands and various punk rock.

On the basis of the lackluster story, and other elements that don't do much to elevate the film, I rate it lackluster (4) overall.

My wife and I saw this at the 2007 Seattle International Film Festival. It was even worse for my wife than for me. She had seen it in Norway, sucked in by favorable reviews. She didn't like it. Then she ended up seeing again, because of an unannounced festival schedule change. I suggested she slip out and shop, or otherwise have some fun, but I figured I'd sit through it to see if it just didn't work for her. But she decided to give it a second try, thinking maybe there was something admirable about it that she missed the first time. No such luck; it was just as boring the second time.
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Best Norwegian movie in years
kraoe14 July 2006
I watched this movie at the first official showing and I was really, really impressed.

It deals with its serious issues in a very thoroughly and convincing manner, without ever becoming sentimental or depressing. It keeps the pace all through the movie, and the balance between the humor and the horror is subtle and touching. It has, however, rather many references to Norwegian culture, and therefore I am curious how the movie will work for an international audience.

It would be modest to say that this is the best Norwegian movie since 'Aberdeen'.
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It's been a long time...
pierre_manon16 December 2007
Since I saw a movie that i could relate to as much. In some ways it really felt like my life with my group of friends when I was longer.

I truly enjoyed that movie, there is a feeling to it and the cinematography is excellent. The actors were amazing. I went to look at their profile and it seems that most of them don't have a lot of experience but it doesn't show, on the contrary, there is a freshness to their performance, they are quite good.

The Soundtrack is amazing, from Joy Division to New Order and other cool music that unfortunately I don't know yet about. Totally what I needed to watch in the cold snow storm coming down right now in Montréal.

See it!
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Decepticon's And Literary Merit
loganx-25 September 2008
Good direction, great soundtrack, dialog, editing, a surprisingly full movie from a first time director.

Two Norwigian friends in their early twenties Philip and Erik, submit there first manuscripts on the same day, one is accepted and becomes a...(read more) critical darling, the other swims in a sea of rejection letters. In the first five minutes we see at least two altered timeliness of what might have happened to these characters had they both been accepted or had they both been rejected, Run Lola Run style in accelerated montage lead by voice over.

The world which could have been, is then followed by six months later, when Erikis getting out o mental institute after a having suffered a breakdown sometime before, Philip is sticking with him, keeping a spare key, making sure he takes his medication on time, and still trying to get his own work published, which it shortly is.

Erik and Philip, and their motley crew of friends like the the crude Morten singer of such classic punk songs like "Fingerfucked by the Prime Minister", and the intellectually over-zealous "Porno Lars", all hang out and well just hang out.

Erik is trying to recreate his obsessive relationship(against dr's orders), going as far as to meticulously re-create a trip they took to Paris. Philip is debating whether or not to dump his girlfriend so he can sew his whitely oats, and trying to escape the shadow of Eirk and their hero Stein Egl Dahl, their favorite author who also happens to live in their home town.

As the title suggests, the film is about these characters trying to re-create, re-capture the past, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Are you holding onto your dreams or are you clinging to them, are your friends a support group or a crutch to keep out the "real world", do you really love her, or is she just an obsession, should you leave him, or are you just selfish. Is there any way to escape cliché, and live "genuinely"? These are questions which are especially pertinent to the coming of age twenty somethings in the film, but they are universal questions everyone probably at numerous times in their life will have to face. And this film captures them, the highs, the lows, and the cream filled centers...good stuff.
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You Can't Go Home Again
writers_reign8 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
With the possible exception of the London Film Festival we don't get too many Norwegian films in England so Reprise is something of a rarity. The reviews I saw were mixed and probably ran on a scale out of ten between three and seven i.e. no one really hated it whilst no one really loved it. Being lion-hearted I went anyway and found it interesting to say the least. It's definitely not for the Multiplex crowd and even the Art Houses may have a tough time putting bums on seats but it has something to say on the nature of creativity and the alternatives and if at times it resembles something cobbled together in someone's garage over a long weekend rather than reeking of professional gloss that's not necessarily a bad thing given the theme. The downside is that it is full of references to Norwegian topography -apparently Oslo has a West Side and an East Side and never the twain shall meet without awkwardness - and Norwegian culture - several writers are cited and non-Norwegians may have difficulty deciding if they are kosher or fictitious - but that to one side this is a reasonable first film.
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Excellent but 'different' movie
w-tromp-13 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is without doubt a very well made movie. The style of filming and editing did remind me of the movie "Hawaii, Oslo". However, this movie deals with friendship, love and mental illness in a group of friends in their early twenties and is not a fairytale story (as in "Hawaii, Oslo"). Two of the friends are writers that want to be famous and part of the literature establishment in Norway. That's why it can be an advantage to have some knowledge about Norwegian culture, the Norwegian language and about the city of Oslo. But all is not needed to be impressed about "Reprise". This because "Reprise" is in the first place about universal things like interpersonal relationships, sadness and identity. You can also see this movie as a filmed portrait of a group of friends. If you see it like that, all main characters are presented in a warm and positive way. Not as 'bad' or as 'good', but as humans with shortcomings. The movie is not at all boring or slow. It contains also a lot of humor (for example when a dog in the park 'attacks' Erik). The ending of the movie is very a-typical and creative (with a counting Phillip). If you like stereotypical blockbusters from Hollywood, violent movies or 'good versus bad' movies, then don't see this one. But if you, Norwegian or not (and I am not), do like an excellent movie about human emotions, then this is probably one to been seen by you. In my opinion, this is a masterpiece. I hope it will be seen by a large international audience. This movie deserves it.
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"Fingerpult av Gerhardsen"
ockiemilkwood14 April 2018
Beautifully shot, written, acted, edited & directed chronicle of Norwegian twenty-somethings making the transition into adulthood, focusing on two wannabe novelists, close friends.

Much more creative, imaginative, risk-taking and original than similar films made in the US.

Friendship between males is intimate & warm in a way never seen in US movies, where we're too macho for this.

Content is dense & detailed, tho film may appear breezy & casual, which is one of its accomplishments.

But above all, something which isn't even mentioned, the movie is hilariously funny. Can't even reprint most of the jokes, given the yoke of censorship and political correctness around our necks in the US, esp. on the internet. Suffice it to say a punk band plays a song entitled "Fingerpult av Gerhardsen" and obscene fun is had at the expense of politically correct "fascism."

That director Trier, an accomplished skateboarder, got his start in filmmaking by making movies about skateboarding may offer a clue to his irreverence and energy. (His new film, Thelma, is also top notch.)
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Ho-Hum JULES & JIM wannabe
jwpappas11 June 2008
Nothing about this film feels authentic. These guys are supposed to be writers but we never learn what they write about. They easily could've been accountants or insurance salesmen. Designating them as writers seems like a shortcut to make us think these guys are "deep" when in reality they come off like characters from a bad American Gen X 1990s movie. Then there is the music: it's the music I love, the music I listened to in my 20s but I am now 44. I suspect the filmmakers are my age as well and didn't bother to research what young people have been listening to for the past 2 decades. It would be like if a movie about 20 somethings was made in 1986 and the soundtrack were filled with nothing but Black Oak Arkansas, Iron Butterfly and Disco Tex And The SeXollettes.

I really didn't care about any of these banal characters & feel the editing is a gimmick to distract the viewer from the fact that nothing interesting is happening or being said.
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Fresh blood in Norwegian film-making
preb116 July 2006
I'm happy to finally see a well written and well directed Norwegian movie, that have lost all the "arch-norwgian lines and way of acting" The cast is mostly newcomers,that raises the level of the established filmmakers and actors in Norway. Finally a line works naturally in Norwegian. The movie is about two young writers and their friendship, love and insanity. The story is edited nicely together, and shifts through real life events and the possible, fantasy events Eskil Vogt has written a drama that makes you emotionally evolved in laughter, tears, anger and despair.This is a nice credible piece of film, but still i've got a hunch that it will be soon forgotten...
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knockout directorial debut
Buddy-5117 January 2009
The Norwegian drama, "Reprise," is the first feature-length work by Danish-born director Joachim Trier - a premier effort that bodes great things for his future as a filmmaker. He is clearly alive to the possibilities of the medium, as reflected in the original, highly idiosyncratic style he brings to the film. Trier deftly employs many of the tools of the filmmaker's trade - narration, flashbacks, flash forwards, near-subliminal quick cuts to show imagined events, etc. - to convey his story. Yet, rare for a newcomer, Trier never indulges in any of these "tricks" for their own sweet sake or to call attention to his own ingenuity; they are always placed at the service of the material, never the other way around.

Best friends from childhood, Erik and Phillip share the hope of one day becoming writers whose works will go beyond the merely commercial to challenge the status quo - thereby earning them the coveted status of "cult" authors. As it turns out, Phillip's novel is published, but Erik's is not, yet Phillip winds up paying a price for his success, namely an emotional breakdown that has Erik performing a near-round-the-clock suicide-prevention watch on his friend. Meanwhile, Erik continues on with his writing, experiencing success and disappointment - both professional and personal - along the way.

Erik and Phillip are both extremely complex characters, and Trier provides no penny-ante analysis to make them more easily understandable for the audience. Sometimes it's hard to tell what exactly it is that is bothering the two, except that, in Philip's case at least, it might be actual mental illness that lies at the root of his problem. Like many creative types, Erik and Phillip seem incapable of not over-analyzing and over-intellectualizing every single aspect of their lives, often resulting in a chronic dissatisfaction with themselves and the world around them. As writers, they become obsessed with trying to convey every single nuance of life through language, and when they fail at that endeavor - as they inevitably do - the only viable option left for them seems to be either depression or madness. As a consequence of all this, their relationships with women don't work out - and even their own longtime friendship threatens to come apart at the seams the deeper they go into brutal self-awareness.

As Erik and Phillip, Espen Klouman-Hoiner and Anders Danielsen Lie give supple, sensitive performances, as does Viktoria Winge as Phillip's on-again/off-again love interest. The screenplay is rich in texture and sophisticated in theme, while the film-making itself sparkles with bold creativity and unfettered imagination.

As touching as it is thought-provoking, "Reprise" is a remarkably accomplished and assured piece of film-making - especially coming from a first timer.
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Overrated as heck
Finfrosk865 June 2015
I don't really know how I'm gonna manage to fill this review with enough lines, but I'll try.

I write this review because I wan't to say how overrated this movie is. That's the only reason.

I write reviews pretty much for three reasons, to tell people how good a movie is, how bad it is, or if I have something I just have to say about it. This is the second one.

There is nothing special about this movie. It is a typical Norwegian drama. Boring, and not interesting at all. The acting is OK, it's Norwegian acting, which is very acting-like, if you catch my drift. Unrealistic. I'm think that doesn't come across very well for people who don't speak Norwegian, and watch this with subs, but trust me.

Things have changed a bit in Norwegian cinema, since this movie, but when this came out, pretty much no one in Norway made interesting movies. It is a bit better now. Some horror and action-ish movies have started coming, that are actually good. Anyway, Reprise is meh.
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A fresh, smart tale about the world of young writers in the 21st century
Benedict_Cumberbatch6 October 2008
I usually enjoy most films about writers and their artistic process, whether they're fictional (such distinct films like "Barton Fink" or "Wonder Boys") or biographical narratives (Virginia Woolf's imagined but wonderfully creative portrayal in "The Hours", Brian Gilbert's rendering of "Wilde", etc.). I haven't seen many interesting attempts to portray the young writers of the new millennium, but Joachim Trier's captivating début "Reprise" is as fresh, smart and instigating as discovering a new literary voice.

The story of two competitive Norwegian friends from Oslo (played by Anders Danielsen Lie and Espen Klouman-Høiner), their literary ambitions and troubled personal lives, is told with fast editing, quirky humor and solid ensemble acting. Trier clearly knows what he's talking about, an has an eye for stylish, bittersweet and cynical images (there's a fantastic scene with the protagonists' group of friends and a female editor who's interested in one of them, as they sit and talk by the water: the dialogue is sharp, the imagery is sensual, vibrant and tense all at once, and it plays like a good cathartic speech directed by the Danny Boyle of "Trainspotting" time). This is a promising director we should keep an eye on. 8/10.
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Hip yarn despite the chore of subtitles
jmlawren-19 June 2008
This movie reminds what great storytelling in film is all about. The yarn never gets boring. The humor and angst is subtle and quiet. I never expected to enjoy this movie as much as I did. Great performances.

Forging through subtitles can be a bore but so much of this storytelling is visual. There is phenomenal dialog, too. The best part comes when the gang of neo-intellectual he-man woman haters start to grow up and fall in love with real women.

With so many slick Hollywood blockbusters blanketing the world, it's wonderful to see a good film get some attention. And a Norwegian film, for pete's sake. Who would have thunk it? It's a new New Wave all over again.

Hey, is "Fingerfucked by the Prime Minister" a real song?
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Amazing movie!
kenrossnow20 May 2008
This Norwegian movie is hard to describe but it reminds me of so many great French New Wave movies from the 60s. It borrows heavily from some of these movies, but it's a completely original, unique, thrilling movie on its own. The person below who gave this movie one star must have been on crack or accidentally wandered into the wrong theater thinking he was going to see "Made of Honor" or some of other piece of ****.

This movie is the start of a brilliant career. Seriously. Years from now, people will be talking about this director the same way people used to talk about Ingmar Bergman or Godard. It's that great!
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A Finely Crafted Film On European Youth
Seamus282924 June 2008
Before I saw 'Reprise', I was warned by somebody who hated it that I would probably hate it as well. I am soooo glad I didn't listen to their (so called)voice of reason & went by my own gut feeling. Reprise is a tale of two school chums who are both aspiring writers who have sent manuscripts of their most recent works to a publisher,expecting "who knows what". Most of this film is a tale of modern Norwegian youth, dealing with the usual glut of existential angst that Gen Y'ers seem to deal with (partying,girlfriends,trying to deal with growing up,etc.). What I really appreciated was the fact that the film doesn't sink to the usual American realm of bad taste (endless jokes concerning farts,vomit,sexual dysfunction,boozing,doping,and who knows what else Seth Rogan can come up with). This film probably won't be of much relevance to those over the age of 40 (especially the choice of music,which tends to stick to music from the mid to late 1990's until now), but if you can get beyond that, Reprise will be a small,quiet surprise for open minded souls looking for a breath of fresh air from the glut of the usual films from the American sewer.
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boring movie, very overrated. It is below average!
Hunky Stud28 May 2010
I have watched many many movies, this movie is so boring! It failed to catch my attention. Whenever I watch a boring movie like this, I just let it play on the TV and read something else at the same time. Even though I don't speak that language, I don't need to read the subtitles all the time.

This movie is definitely overrated. I have never seen a movie from Norway before. And I checked it out from the library because it has over 7 rating! I thought that it must be good, but I was totally wrong. I usually try to watch all the things on the "special features", too, but I didn't watch all of them for this DVD.

This movie is not coherent. It jumps from places to places. And it is also confusing. For example, one of the guy was riding a bike, and he was counting from 10 to zero. Then all of sudden, after he counted to zero, he didn't even park his bike, he was already inside a room? I don't know why he keeps counting at the end of the movie.
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Norwegian Nouvelle Vague
dromasca4 December 2021
'Reprise', the 2006 debut film by Norwegian director Joachim Trier, is a tribute to the directors of the French New Wave and their films. In many ways it looks like a New Wave movie made in Norway in the 2000's. Its heroes are young intellectuals searching for their personal and artistic identity. It is filmed mostly on the streets of the metropolis that is Oslo, and even includes in the story two episodes that take place in Paris. The style of the narration is non-linear, reality is intertwined with imaginary 'what-if' scenes, the point of view is personal and the off-screen voices are used copiously. The problem is that 'Reprise' was made about 45 years after the New Wave appeared on the screens of the world, and another 15 years have passed since then. The novelty effect is non-existent. In order to be able to capture the attention of the spectators, it is necessary to have a story and characters that will win the interest and, if possible, the affection of the spectators. From this point of view, the success is partial.

'Reprise' begins with an exceptional opening scene. Two young men stand in front of a mailbox, each with a large envelope in his hands. They are excited and hesitant. They finally put the envelopes in the box. The two are Philip (Anders Danielsen Lie) and Erik (Espen Klouman Høiner), two 23-year-olds aspiring to become writers. The envelopes contain the texts of their debut books, which they hope to see published. From here, with the help of the off-screen voice, we enter the field of conditional mode. One of them may succeed and the other may not. Their sentimental ties may have diverted them from writing. Life and literature may come into conflict and the price of success may be the inability to feel or, conversely, the fear of feeling and engaging too much.

The narrative is quite twisted, storytellers alternate, and the style of 'possible scenarios' is a permanent challenge for viewers. The masters of the New French Wave understood the difficulty and in their best films they had the skill and maybe the luck to cast actresses and actors who won the empathy of the audiences of their time. They also simplified their stories or used classic narrative structures borrowed from the detective genre or from American movies. Joachim Trier, in this debut film, failed to follow his teachers from this point of view. He tries to say too much, which is a debutant syndrome. It is obvious that he is very familiar with the environment he describes, after all the heroes are his generational fellows. He has some great ideas, such as the mute dialogues with outside voices between lovers. The soundtrack is composed exclusively of live music, punk and metal, violent and at full volume, kind of a counterpoint to the rules of Scandinavian conversation. However, the narrative is too contorted, and from the cast only Anders Danielsen Lie as Philip and Viktoria Winge as his girlfriend Kari manages to create a credible relationship on screen. The rest of the characters are simply not interesting enough (at least that's how they seemed to me) and their intellectual contortions and even the satire of the editorial system remain too abstract, especially since we are never told what the writers film's heroes write. 'Reprise' is the interesting debut of the talented director who was to become Joachim Trier, but the title of the chronicle of the debut book of one of the heroes, 'Form without substance' fits also the film.
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