The other day, when the big video store across the street was out of The Savages and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, one of the clerks recommended Wristcutters: A Love Story (Goran Dukic, Halcyon Pictures). I hesitated—another employee had once tried to rent me a film about the coast guard starring Ashton Kutcher—but I had a cold and didn’t want to waste any more time, so I took his advice. I’m happy that I did—this is one of those rare films that you fall in love with during the opening credits. As the film begins, the main character, Zia, is listening to a Tom Waits record and cleaning his room in preparation for suicide. Too bad he misses a spot; the last thing he sees before he dies on the bathroom floor is a dust bunny in the corner. So begins the drily humorous Wristcutters. Zia ends up in an afterlife designed only for people who committed suicide, a place “where there’s no smiling, it’s hot as balls and everyone’s an asshole.” In fact, it’s a lot like his life before death: he has a crappy job, a disagreeable roommate and no girlfriend. He and his friend Eugene embark on a road trip in an effort to find Zia’s ex-girlfriend—another suicide, and the reason Zia “offed” himself in the first place. Soon they encounter a young woman hitchhiking to locate “the people in charge,” and the group drives aimlessly down dusty roads, past disembowelled couches, cars buried in sand, piles of tires and abandoned houses, as though the afterlife were a Jeff Wall photograph. Although the premise of the film is dark, the tone is hopeful. The trio tries to find love, forgiveness and possibly God, and along the way they encounter small miracles, strange beauty and even Tom Waits.