The Closer: Season 3


Wristcutters: A Love Story

Music By: Various Artists

Musical Score By: Bobby Johnston

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            When I first saw the title of this soundtrack, Wristcutters: A Love Story, I had my doubts.  A movie called Wristcutters that happens to be a love story, illustrated on the cover of the soundtrack via a hand with a horizontal slice on the wrist that bleeds red hearts.  For some reason, I was rather weirded out by this.  Then I read the film summary and I worried some more.  A man, distraught over the fact that his girlfriend has left him, decides to commit suicide.  However, he soon discovers that life after death is quite similar to life before death.  Discovering that his ex-girlfriend has also killed herself, he decides to go on a road trip with a Russian rocker friend in an effort to find her.  This last bit was so disturbing to me that I have to quote it: “Their journey takes them through an absurd purgatory where they discover that being dead doesn’t mean you have to stop livin’.”  Let’s look at that last line again, shall we – “…being dead doesn’t mean you have to stop livin’.”  At this point I’m really hoping that this is a black comedy.  Otherwise, this is just a really bad idea for a film.  But I like to think I have an open mind.  Thus, I can look past the absurdity of the name and the ridiculous storyline and conduct an honest and open review about the movie’s soundtrack.

            The soundtrack of Wristcutters: A Love Story features music by various artists and a musical score created by Bobby Johnston.  New York-born composer Bobby Johnston is known for his unusual composing style – he only uses acoustic instruments in his compositions and most times, those instruments are played by Johnston himself.  He has composed music for quite a few independent films including King of the Ants, Edmund and Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election.  For Wristcutters, Johnston composed small Slavic-inspired pieces that reflected the film’s locale.  Unfortunately, the musical score that Johnston created was overshadowed by the songs by various artists featured on this soundtrack.  I say unfortunately, because I thought that Johnston’s composition was very well done.  I wish I could say that much for the other songs.

            Featured prominently with three songs on the Wristcutters Soundtrack is the Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello.  Now, while their songs have a Slavic sound to them, I have to wonder why three songs?  Especially when most of the singing by Gogol Bordello is horrifically off-key.  Other artists featured include Joy Division, Mikal Lazarev, Del Shannon, Screaming Lord Sutch, Artie Shaw, Mushman and Gram Parsons.  The selection of songs here seems rather eclectic, with songs by new artists interspersed with some classics.  My favorites of the bunch were the classics Cry Myself to Sleep by Del Shannon and Gloomy Sunday by Artie Shaw.  It pains me to say that, even though it was mostly off-key, I did like Occurrence on the Border (Hopping on a Pogo-Gypsy Stick) by Gogol Bordello.  The rest of the songs – I could take ‘em or leave ‘em…mostly leave ‘em.

            As a whole, this is one lousy soundtrack.  If the music of Wristcutters is any indication of what the film is like, I would definitely stay far away from the film.  In my opinion, this is one soundtrack that would stay dusty on the bottom of the bargain bin for months to come.


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