Kyle Henry's ROOM begins as an unvarnished portrait of nickel-and-dimed wage slavery, but after a suggestive setup that links an overworked Texas mom's blackouts to Bush foreign policy, descends into hallucinatory abstraction. For a sardonic take on America's ills, there's always the prankster Danes. Screening in the otherwise dud-filled Premieres section, DEAR WENDY, directed by Thomas Vinterberg from a Lars von Trier script, is a love story between a boy (Jamie Bell) and his double-action revolver. In a faux-mythic town square somewhere between Dogville and Butte, Montana (the mines have closed and the Zombies are always on someone's turntable), outsider kids turn into gun fetishists and pacifist "dandies." Taking aim at Columbine, American racism, the right to bear arms, and the arms race, this willfully scattershot allegory is every bit the waggish provocation you'd expect. But at the bizarrely inane and indulgent Q&A, Vinterberg fielded softballs about costumes and rehearsals: "There's a whole political subtext too," he smirked in conclusion, "but we can talk about it some other time."
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