The Null Device

MIFF: Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself

The first film I saw today was Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself, a Danish/Scottish co-production. This was a black comedy/drama of sorts about a chronically suicidal man who helps run a second-hand bookshop in Glasgow with his overly indulging brother. Oh, and various women (including a slightly dippy nurse at the hospital where he goes for counselling) find him irresistible. The film has a dry, deadpan humour about it, maintaining it among the grim circumstances (other than suicide attempts, the story includes terminal illness and tragic death), and yet while there is emotion, the film keeps on, with a combination of Scottish stoicism and the Scandinavian aesthetic; you can't help but feel that, were Hollywood money involved, it would have been smothered in shmaltzy sentimentality, hamfistedly grabbing for the audiences heartstrings to manipulate them to tears, though since there isn't, there's none of that there.

The visual side of things was quite beautiful, with good use of that cold Northern sunlight, and lots of blues and greys; the cinematographers made good use of the Glaswegian locale. The soundtrack (by Danish composer Joachim Holbek) was also quite good, reminiscent in places of Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson's score to Englar Alheimsins, a film with which Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself shared more than a few similarities. Hopefully Wilbur won't disappear without a trace as Englar did (despite Fat Cat releasing its soundtrack, probably due to the Sigur Rós songs on it) once its film festival run finishes, as it's really worth seeing.

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