Having the soundtrack for your debut feature made by Sonic Youth… how cool is that? Never mind that gimmick, is Simon Werner a disparu (or Lights out, which is – for some reason – the international title) a good film? Let’s review and find out.
The original title says it all: Simon Werner, student, has disappeared. Or has something happened to him? The film opens with a party to the tunes of Love Like Blood. After all, the film takes place in the early nineties. Because the film offers more than one perspective on what’s happened, Killing Joke‘s song features a couple of times – yet it didn’t get the same amount of press as Sonic Youth’s tracks. Not unsurprisingly so, because the band actually compared a full album of instrumental tracks for the movie. At the time of release who could predict Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore would break up and Simon Werner A Disparu OST might become the final Sonic Youth release?
Maybe I’m noticing this because my upcoming novel also exists of multi-perspective angles, but this seems to becoming quite the rage (I better hurry then with the rewrite or I’ll be accused of jumping on a bandwagon – never mind my having started working on it in 2009). Truth be told, unlike some of these movies, Simon Werner doesn’t always have the strongest stories for them to be retold again, but at its core there’s something much more frightening than the disappearance of a young man: teen anxiety. Set in an obviously not very poor neighbourhood, it’s all about being part of the group here. Thus for some, the school becomes a place with nice hideouts.
All that leads to only question: what has happened to Simon Werner? It looks quite likely that he hasn’t just disappeared, but if that’s the case, who knows more about the disappearance and possible murder? At the end of the movie, you’ll know this, but the ending left a lot of people with an uncomfortable feeling. Cult fans (especially those who’ve watched a giallo or two) will not be surprised that it isn’t always the most likely suspect who’s responsible for a (possible) crime. If that worries you, Simon Werner says more about you than about the 1990s. There’s lots of gossiping in the film and eccentric or asocial characters are just ready to be served as scapegoats. (Just like Alice seems born for the role of femme fatale.) And that is the true story behind Simon Werner’s disappearance. A simple whodunit, this is not.
Good movie, good soundtrack and a fair bit of nostalgia for the previous century. Are we content? Yes, we are. Have we mentioned that the film also looks good? No, not yet, but I’m sure you can come to that conclusion just by looking at the trailer below.