Thursday, 5 February 2015

Wetlands (2013)

Carla Juri plays Helen, a young woman who likes to take every opportunity available to her when it comes to exposing her ladyparts to germs and foul matter. Yes, I have to start my review this way. That's the way that Wetlands starts, and it continues to get quirkier and nastier as the story unfolds. When not trying to make the perfect aroma down there, a scent that Helen believes makes her more attractive to males, our main character is masturbating with various vegetables, fretting over her haemorrhoids, trying to get her parents back together, and spending time with her friend (Corinna, played by Marlene Kruse). The two girls are so close that they sometimes swap used tampons. Yes, you read that correctly. After a shaving accident causes an anal fissure, Helen ends up in hospital. She ends up meeting a nice nurse named Robin (Christoph Letkowski), and also sees an opportunity to forcibly reunite her divorced parents (played by Meret Becker and Axel Milberg).

Based on a novel by Charlotte Roche, Wetlands is a film that works for a little while before winding down quickly. What was initially quirky and amusing soon becomes tiresome. Director David Wnendt, who also helped to work on adapting the novel to screen with Claus Falkenberg, seems to revel in the shocking nature of the source material, piling new unpleasant detail on top of the preceding selection in a way that leads to the movie eventually collapsing like a house of cards.

Those who are easily shocked won't make it past the opening scenes, but anyone able to stomach the graphic content are eventually rewarded with the lovely moments mentioned in the first paragraph, as well as numerous scenes revolving around Helen's anus, and a memorable (for all the wrong reasons) sequence that involves five men, a pizza, and a lot of ejaculating erections.

Juri is good in the main role, helping to make the film more tolerable. Her performance is just right. She's easy to like, despite the fact that her character is undeniably very selfish and has no consideration for any consequences of her actions. Kruse is also good in her supporting role, although there's no time taken to show how the two became such firm friends, especially considering the strong bonds of  trust that develop between them. Letkowski manages to portray his character with a nice mix of innocence and worry, and Becker and Milberg both do well, considering that they're stuck with the characters that viewers are supposed to judge much more harshly than Helen.

Probably a bit too much for those after quirky drama, and probably not full of enough testing material for those who enjoy exploring more twisted tales, Wetlands is akin to the kid who picks his nose and then chases you around with the bogey. A mixture of cute, unpleasant, and never quite as entertaining as it thinks it is.


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