A Love Story (**)
review by Jon
Zia is your typical depressed young adult type guy. Feeling
less than content with his current life, he decides to end
it all. He tidies up his room, goes into the bathroom and quietly
slits his wrists. The next thing he knows, he’s working
a new job in a new world. This netherworld is meant to house
all those people who commit suicide. It’s a lot like
normal life, “but worse.” You still have to eat
and drink and make a living. But the land is barren and boring
and no one has the ability to smile, although they can occasionally
perform insignificant miracles. Well, it turns out that Zia
isn’t so happy here either. But when word gets out that
the love of his life followed him to this strange land of the
damned, he starts his road trip quest to find her and be with
her once again.
Alright, here’s my question. If Zia (played by Patrick
Fugit) loved his girlfriend so much, why did he kill himself?
All the flashbacks they show express nothing but a great, loving
relationship between these two people. You never see anything
that would suggest that things went awry. If she would make
the afterlife worth living, wouldn’t she have made regular
life worth living? I guess I just wanted to hear a concrete
explanation as to why we watched the time-lapse suicide at
the beginning of the film. Justify your non-existence. Oh,
and try not to be such a terrible narrator while you’re
I also didn’t really understand why it had to be a road
movie. I guess the traveling aspect helps solidify the relatively
obvious connections to “The
Wizard of Oz,” although
I would have preferred something along the lines of “Defending
Your Life.” I think he could have encountered just as
many interesting characters in a more centralized location.
That way we wouldn’t have those big lulls in the middle
where we have sparse and uninspired dialogue while watching
them slowly drive past the junkyard highway. Do appliances
kill themselves too?
The answer to that is probably not, but evidently a dog did.
When Zia meets someone new, we’re treated to flashbacks
showing how these people ended up in this forsaken realm. It’s
occasionally interesting and a nice touch to include, but it
would have been slightly better if they would have shown how
the dog ended up there, since that’s the only animal
I remember seeing on screen. That’s sort of how the whole
movie goes, though. It’s clever and it will keep your
interest, but it really should be quirkier and not as predictable.
Working at a place there called Kamikaze Pizza is good. Giving
the entire world a blue tint is lame and cliché. Putting
a black hole underneath the seat of the car they drive is clever.
Going to that same gag over and over again is not so much.
Ending the way it did is also pretty bad.
It takes a little bit too long for anything to really get
going. As soon as Kneller enters the picture about half way
through (played brilliantly by Tom Waits), the possibilities
start to expand and the film becomes fun. I haven’t seen
a golf course that cool since “Overboard.” But
for as boring as it is, I still wonder if in certain respects,
the picture actually glorifies suicide. That place didn’t
look all that bad. People at least got along and life seemed
to be simplified quite a bit. And love still exists in a place
like that. It’s just dull. Almost too dull to watch.
And predictable. And not as eccentric as it should have been.
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