Dear Wendy (15)

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg, written by Lars von Trier
Showing at FACT from 19th August - 1st September 2005

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Yet another film glorifying gun culture in the USA. However this time you can't pin the blame on Hollywood.

Danish writer Lars von Trier, who has never stepped on American soil, used Germany and Denmark for the locations of this absurd and generally abhorrent film.

The camera lovingly lingers on bullet holes in people's bodies, interspersed with illustrations on the impact of a bullet entering the body, together with pseudo analysis on the different effects of various calibres of weapons when used.

The location of this no-hoper town, full of misfits, malcontents and rednecks (Bill Pullman, in a stereotypical role for him, plays the half-witted sheriff), resembles the Wild West era but in a contemporary setting.

Dick (Jamie Bell), who plays the lead role and is the narrator throughout the film, forms a secret society of young pacifists called 'Dandies', but with the difference that they all possess weapons and treat them as friends or lovers, hence the title of the film. Dick's firearm is called Wendy who he consiiders to be his loving partner.

They pledge never to use them on other people but following the shooting of a policeman by an old lady who they were escorting to see a friend, they are caught up in a shoot out by a posse of police, in which a salvo of bullets are fired at them, with fatal consequences for all of them.

The film sends out the same old message- violence begets violence. The more guns in circulation leads to more killings and gun-related crime.

The choice of soundtrack was bizzare. Songs by 1970s American band The Zombies were heavily featured, mainly dealing with 'love and peace' issues. I am sure this music will appeal to the impressionable teenage audience this film will inevitably appeal to.

Lars von Trier won a lot of praise for two of his previous films, 'Festen' and 'Dogville', but Dear Wendy is definitely one to avoid.

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