Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I don't know what it says about me that a German film about a girl who hates hygiene getting an anal fissure was one of my favorite movies of Sundance 2014. Probably not anything good, but fuck it. This movie is so shithouse rat crazy that I was entranced.
I think it was about the time that the opening credits played over a crazy lice-monster filled CG hellscape that represented a microscopic look at a stray pube that lead (Carla Juri) finds on a toilet seat that I knew this one was for me.
As you can tell already, Wetlands played much more like a Fantastic Fest movie than a Sundance movie, which was such a pleasant surprise to me. I don't know what I loved more, the whole concept of a young lady ending up in the hospital because of an anus-shaving accident or watching the multiple people in the Press and Industry screening go “nope” at the same time as that scene unfolded, gathering up their coats and heading for the door.
Thinking back on Juri's performance the words “brave” and “unrestrained” come to mind. I could focus on her rampant nudity and willingness to mime some really awful dirty things, but all that would have gotten old after 5 minutes if it wasn't for her ability to make Helen an empathetic character. She's unlike any girl I personally know, but she still somehow transcends being a cartoon character, which kind of blows my mind considering how the first act has her discussing the viscosity of her vaginal excretions and her disapproval of feminine hygiene (or any sort of hygiene for that matter, but she goes out of her way rub her puss all over every dirty toilet she comes across to prove a point that her germ-phobic mother was wrong).
Instead of making her disgusting, in some weird way that I can't completely explain all that grossness just made Helen more endearing. I think it's all in her attitude. She's a little punk rock, but it's all done in a super sweet way so the film somehow avoids that kind of Harmony Korine sleazy tone.
The fact that director David Wnendt directs with the ADHD enthusiasm of Edgar Wright contributes to the fun-not-skeezy vibe of the whole thing. There's also a sweet love story between Helen and her male nurse while she recovers from her anal fissure... I just read over that sentence and that's pretty much everything I love about Wetlands in one go. It's sweet, it's raunchy, it's disgusting, it's hilarious, it's fucked up, it's unpredictable, it's emotionally engaging and it'll really, really piss off any squares who somehow find themselves watching it.
I have no idea who would ever pick this up for US distribution unless their name happens to be Drafthouse Films, but if any of this sounds at all appealing to you then Wetlands is going to deliver. Now good luck getting a chance to see it...