Dear Wendy

1st September 2005
Movie Poster reviewer: Geoff
rating: 5 out of 5
directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
written by: Lars von Trier
starring: Jamie Bell, Mark Webber, Alison Pill
genre: Drama
released: 5th August 2005

From Lars von Trier the man behind Dogville comes a story about a young American (Dick) growing up in a small timeless mining town. After trying and failing to become a miner like his father he takes a job in the general store and after his fathers death his life becomes decidedly unremarkable.

The Wendy of the title is an old toy gun Dick buys from the antique store and starts carrying around with him like a kind of security blanket. Another of the town's out-of-place youth notices the toy and explains that it is a real gun and encourages Dick to try out his weapon, just to see what it's like. Dick, as a pacifist against the idea of violence, is so enamoured by his gun that he does not see the harm and practices with his new friend in the old abandoned mine.

Gradually the confidence their guns grant Dick and his friend help to improve their lives, even though they pledge never to use or even show them, and simply carry them at all times. Feeling selfish and knowing that others in the town feel like outsiders the pair include others in their firearm studies. They call themselves the Dandies and each acquire their own weapon and shooting talent.

The story may not appeal to everyone and in many ways glamorises gun culture but the performance from Jamie Bell as Dick is excellent and well-supported by the group of misfits. Despite not really exploring the supporting cast's characters the story centering primarily around Dick's experiences they are not left out and I felt I knew the characters well enough by the end of the film. Ultimately the story leads to a conclusion which was never unexpected but still entertaining to watch.

Disappointingly I do not believe the film was given a proper chance in the cinemas and most other reviews I have read have piled on criticism due to the subject matter. Nevertheless I would urge you to seek out the film even if you are not a fan of Lars' other work.