(15) 1 1 1 min I...

A comedy about suicide? Set in Glasgow, but written and directed by a pair of Danes? Surely you can’t be serious? Well, yes and no - the tragi- comic melodrama Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself is, against all odds, a winner.

‘lt’s a shame you can’t come to the suicide support group any more, especially now you’ve experienced death,’ says the rather tactless nurse Moira (Big Train television comedian Julia Davis) to Wilbur (the lad from Leith, Jamie Sives), a young man whose ongoing efforts to end his life have thus far resulted in only a few scant seconds of brain death. It’s this kind of pointed black-humoured dialogue, delivered in a beautifully unassuming style by its fine cast, that gives Wilbur wings.

The story revolves around two orphaned brothers, Wilbur and Harbour (Adrian Rawlings), who run a musty old bookshop inherited from their father. Single mum Alice (Shirley Henderson, the lass from Fife) walks into the shop one night and

form something like a family unit with the boys. For a time they’re happy enough: Alice and Harbour fall in love and Wilbur stops trying to top himself. But yet more tragedy awaits the oddball family.

Tender, touching and funny, this beautifully observed film plays like a feel good melodrama that contemplates death and despair. The laughs aren’t always of the out loud

Feel good and feel bad

Anders Thomas Jensen (Mifune) for crossing the geographical divide with this, their first English language film. That’s a difficult feat to accomplish, all the more so when you’re aiming to make an audience laugh - comedy often doesn’t travel. Scherfig has said she always had Scotland in mind for her first film in a foreign language, because, among other reasons, the Danes and Scots have a

interrupts Wilbur’s rather ham-fisted attempt to hang himself. Subsequently, the mother and her young daughter move in and come to

CHRIS l MAS FAN msv COMEDY ELF (PG) 96min 0..

Some Yuletide movies suck. Memories of The Santa Clause or How the Grinch Stole Christmas still fill me Will) thoughts of self harm. Advocat and laudanum. Jon Favreau's Ell, h( wever. n‘ay not be in the- lt's a l/'/onderful Life guality bracket but it is a surprisingly enjoyable riff on Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Buddy i‘v‘lill Ferrell; is a big Elf who. though accepted :n his Elvish cori‘munity in the North Pole. manages to wreak havoc on a daily >as3is. Fed up and confused by the actions of his charge. Papa Elf iBob Next/ham sends him to the US n search of his true identity.

Of course. every Christmas; ll‘()‘.’l() must adhere to several wellestablished clrchrés and this one contains their all without ever falling into the trap of caricature. With a lot of help ‘r'on‘ some old. very cool comedy actor cats itlames Caan. Ed Asner. Nev/harti David Berenbaum's silly. ]UV(}l‘|l(} screenplay more than makes up for the occasional flatness o‘ Faxreau's direction. Ellis an outrageously pragn‘atic. hun‘ai _ ;in American take on that oinen‘atic l-lolly Grail igtxitiit’2i: the kiddie Chrimbo movie yarn.

Will Ferrell excels in the title role. \./‘.’hether he is working in a department store. taking Jovie iZooey Deschaneli on a date to drink the world's best coffee. or simply sharing a decidedly non Elwsh iamin dinner. he never tails to create belly aching laughs; the also gets all the best one-liners. which helpsr

It's enOugh to make you believe in Father Christmas again. (Kaleen‘ Aftabi I General release from Fri 28 Nov.

variety, but the off-kilter dialogue tickles throughout. Full marks to former Dogme filmmakers Lone Scherfig (Italian for Beginners) and

similar sense of humour. On the evidence of Wilbur, she’s not wrong. (Miles Fielder)

I Selected release from Fri :3 Dec

Kooky and in exile \.'.'l llMSICAL DRAMA


This languorous and richly evocatwe film from l/laurita'iza's Abderrahmane Sissako skilfully uses its west African coastal town setting to explore themes of exHe. displacement and belonging.

Sissako ()8(:ll(}\.'-.l8 traditional plot driven storytelling and presents the audience with a series of vignettes of [ale in the seaside community of Nouadhibou. where the ocean intersects with the desert. and where a sense of transience is embedded in men/day life. Thus a young man Abdaliah iMohamed Mahmoud Ould Mohan‘edi is visiting his ii‘otner before emigrating to Europe. The nomadic Makan vMakanfing Dabor. who has mysterioush buried his radio set in the sand. is guestioned by the police when a body is washed up on the beach. And an elderly handyman Maata iMaata Ould Mohamed Abeidl connects electricity to a house. assisted by the orphaned youngster Khatra iKhatra Ould Abdel Kaderi.

Making strong use of his ll()ll-l)f()l(}f3f3l()ll£ll cast. S ssako contrasts the passing down of customs between the generations in the form of tales and songs. with the homogenous global culture [)f()\."l(l()(l by satellite teie‘. .sion. Characters; like Abdallah and Khatra yearn to explore the world beyond this transit settlement. But escaping. whether by train. bus or ship. proves surprisineg elusive. ’lhis is cinema as a collective state of mind. with the bold primary colours. the melancholic score and the mysterious lll‘£l§]()l'\, giving lilaitrng for Happiness a poignant. dreamer gualitv. i'l'oii‘ Dawsoni I Film/rouse. Edinburgh from Fri :3 Dec


HElST THRILLER STEAL (15) 84min 0..

Addressing what appears to be the growing social problem in the United States of roller-blading bank robbers. Steal is an old-fashioned B movie that deserves an A for effort. It's directed by Grérard Pires. who made the first Taxi film for producer Luc Besson. Steal (originally titled Riders for its US release). The movie features Stephen Dorff as Slim. the immaculately coitfured leader of a merry band of extreme sperts fanatics who are locked into a cat and mouse game with a glamorous

A for effort 8 for movie

detective Karen (Natasha Henstridge). Rent a Brit baddie Bruce Payne chips in with what could be the year's worst supporting performance as Lt Macgruder. a crooked cop. and there is a truly lunatic turn by Steven Berkoif as a psychotic Mafia boss, religious evangelist Surtayne. Bi/arre trimmings aside. Steal should really feel bland and generic. yet Pires' natural sense of how to put together a muscular action sequence means that this is something of a guilty. lilthy treat. If you £1r() ()f tilt) t)()he)l tlizit there can never be enough movies in this world that feature police cars smashing through the side of buses and birds taking their clothes off. then you should check this baby out. It's a Lulu (it ‘.‘/|“ make you wanna shoutl). (F ddie Harrison) I Out now on selected release

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