EmptyStyle trumps content in this audacious feature debut by Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier. A dizzyingly conceived and edited comedy drama about two young aspiring novelists, "Reprise" will leave audiences exhilarated or exhausted depending on their patience for experimental techniques.
The story line — which alternates between realistic and fantasy sequences to an often confusing degree — revolves around best friends Erik (Espen Klouman-Hoiner) and Phillip (Anders Danielson Lie), who want to achieve the status of cult writer like their reclusive literary idol (Sigmund Saeverud). The opening sequence depicts them sending off their debut efforts, which produce wildly differing results.
Phillip's work becomes a sensation, though his media fame and troubled relationship with girlfriend Kara (Viktoria Winge) winds up sending him to a mental hospital. Erik, on the other hand, consistently founders, failing to get his work published and finding himself unable to break up with his long-suffering girlfriend (Silje Hagen).
Trier's approach, revealing influences ranging from Godard to Truffaut to his own distant relation Lars von Trier, displays an exuberance that befits the youthful energy of his characters. But he also lapses into a self-indulgence that detracts from the film's impact.
Still, "Reprise" features many strong elements, including the affecting performances by its largely nonpro cast.(partialdiff)