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Wristcutters: A Love Story is a comedy/fantasy/romance film written and directed by Goran Dukic, starring Patrick Fugit, Shea Whigham, and Shannyn Sossamon. It is set in a strange afterlife way-station that has been reserved for people who have committed suicide.

It is based on Etgar Keret's short story "Kneller's Happy Campers". A graphic novel version was titled Pizzeria Kamikaze.

The movie was originally intended to be shot on super-16 color infrared film, which was produced specially by Kodak. The color-shifts inherent in using this kind of film were thought to enhance the parallel world feel to the action.In the end, it proved to be too time-consuming and the film was shot using normal filmstock manipulated in post-processing.

The film made its premiere at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and was distributed in limited release on October 19, 2007, before being expanded into wide release on November 2, 2007. It was released on DVD on March 25, 2008, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.


After Zia (Patrick Fugit) commits suicide by cutting his wrists, he finds himself in an afterlife limbo that is much the same as his former reality, just slightly worse. Here the color is dim, there are no flowers, and no one can smile. This strange realm is populated by people who have committed suicide, such as Eugene (Shea Whigham), a Russian rocker who lives with his mother, father, and brother (all suicide victims). Eugene is partly based on Eugene Hütz of the band Gogol Bordello, whose music features in the film as that recorded by character Eugene's old band. He kills himself on stage by pouring a beer he is drinking ("Dead Guy Ale," brewed by Rogue Ales) onto his electric guitar. Together they waste most of their afterlives in bars, until Zia learns from a friend that his ex-girlfriend has also committed suicide. He and Eugene take to the road to find her in Eugene's car, which has seen better days. Early on it is revealed that Eugene's car has two idiosyncrasies - a sort of black hole underneath the passenger seat where items that are dropped disappear forever and broken headlights that cannot be fixed by the most adept of mechanics. On their trip, they pick up hitchhiker Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon), who insists there's been a mistake, she did not commit suicide, and she is seeking the "people in charge" (a.k.a. the PIC) in order to be sent back.

After a few interesting adventures across the country, the trio are traveling on a desolate highway, when Mikal pushes a button, miraculously activating the broken lights on Eugene's car. Shortly thereafter, they come upon a man lying in the middle of the dark road, and must veer off the road, wrecking the car, to avoid hitting him. They discover the man, Kneller (Tom Waits), an eccentric commune leader of sorts, had fallen asleep while looking for his dog. He invites them back to his camp to rest for the night, where they quickly discover that minor "miracles" happen all the time, objects change color, people or objects float, and all "miracles" are initiated by the campers. The group stays with the camp longer than intended. Zia begins to obsess about the miracles, and his inability to perform them. Eugene meets a young woman, Nanuk, who he romances. Just as Mikal and Zia discuss their plans to leave Kneller's camp to resume their searches, another camper Yan (John Hawkes) emerges from the woods with news of Kneller's Dog Freddy, who he claims is being held hostage by "Messiah King" and his hundreds of followers. Kneller, Zia, Mikal, and Yan set off in search of King and Kneller's dog.

Along the way the group becomes lost, and end up bedding down for the night. Mikal and Zia, who are out gathering wood to keep a fire going, discover an ocean shore nearby, where they share a passionate night. In the morning Kneller happens upon them lying together on the rocky shore littered with used condoms and syringes. The group continue and eventually reach King's camp, which is a large cult compound filled with followers who are waiting for King to perform a "real" miracle - to separate his soul from his body. Kneller gains audience with King to get his dog back, where Zia finds his ex-girlfriend, Desiree, working with King. The two steal away briefly to talk and Zia learns that Desiree became a devout follower of King's teachings after his death, eventually committing suicide to follow King into the afterlife. King starts his ritual to perform his "miracle", taking his own life, again, while in the view of all those in his camp. As he dies, Kneller is seen cryptically speaking into a device calling for backup. Initially the crowd notices what they believe are angels parachuting in; however, as they land, vans and cars pull up, and it is revealed that the "angels" are in fact the PIC. The crowd is dispersed, Messiah and Desiree are taken away, and Mikal leaves with them, calling back to Zia she'll be back in five minutes. He sits down on a small stool, waiting till dark when Eugene and his lady friend pull up in their car. The group heads to a train station, where Eugene reveals that Kneller was an undercover agent for the PIC, but his camp has now been shut down. He also explains that Mikal's story was true and that the PIC are sending her back to life. Eugene and Nanuk depart on a small train car, leaving Zia with the keys to the car.

Zia returns to the car, obviously deep in thought over Mikal. He lights a cigarette, and when he releases a burning match, it floats up towards another one floating in the sky. Zia has finally performed a miracle. He leaves, and when he is stopped at a railroad crossing, he drops a cassette in the black hole under the seat. As the train passes, it is revealed that Zia has climbed into the hole. The film cuts to a large warehouse filled with halls of boxes, Kneller is seen picking up Zia's file from a box, placing it into his inside breast pocket, and commenting on how fortunate it is to know people in high places. The film cuts back to Zia, who wakes up in a hospital bed. He turns his head, noting his parents outside a door talking to doctors. When he looks at the person in the bed next to his, he sees Mikal. Both look at each other and smile widely, and the movie cuts to credits.



Gogol Bordello's music forms the backbone of the soundtrack for the film. Tom Waits who plays Kneller in the film, also appears on the soundtrack with the bluesy track "Dead and Lovely" in the beginning credits during Zia's suicide scene. Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" can be heard in the background of the first bar scene of the film, and an arrangement of Gloomy Sunday can be heard at a later point, songs about or associated with suicide.



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