Eighteen year-old Helen Memel (Carla Juri) likes to skateboard, masturbate with vegetables and thinks that body hygiene is greatly overrated. Struggling with her parents' divorce, she spends her time experimenting and breaking one social taboo after the other with her best friend, Corinna (Marlen Kruse). When a shaving accident lands her in the hospital, she sees it as a way to reconcile her parents and forms an unlikely bond with her male nurse, Robin (Christoph Letkowski). 'Wetlands' is an unapologetically vulgar coming-of-age tale about divorce, first love, and anal fissures.
I didn’t know what quite to expect with David Wnendt’s adaptation of Charlotte Roche’s novel ‘Wetlands‘, but I can assure you that after watching it, I discovered beauty and innocence in the most unlikely of places. Filled with orgasms, the erotic use of vegetables, sexual adventures, sharing used tampons, and even anal operations from the eyes of a female, Wnendt’s artistic and stylish movie, which stars an incredible Carla Juri is not only one of the most risqué films I’ve ever seen, but it’s handled with such care that it’s end result is a beautiful and sweet film. I just wish this movie would have had a wider release here in America, but I’m sure once word-of-mouth hits the streets on this film, ‘Wetlands’ will become an instant cult classic, and might even push the novel of the same name to the top of the charts again.
We see the world through an idiosyncratic young woman named Helen (Juri), who in the opening scene, walks through a deplorable and flooded public bathroom and rubs her bare privates over the disgusting and used toilet seat, as she tells us she likes to use her vagina as a science experiment. Helen lives with her divorced mother (Meret Becker) and sees her wealthy father (Axel Milberg) quite often. Helen is a free spirit who is obsessed with everything sexual.
When she is not testing different kinds of fruit and vegetable to see which one makes her climax the fastest, she and her best friend Corrina (Marlen Kruse) skateboard around town, finding new ways and new people to experience intimate moments with. And as to do a science experiment on us the audience to see if we can handle the movie, Wnendt shows us a scene between Corrina and her heavy metal drummer boyfriend that might gross out some people, but it’s handled in such an innocent and humorous way that it almost becomes silly and child-like.
Despite whatever sex act is thrown our way, including a scene where you’ll never look at a pizza the same way again, Helen pulls off this one-of-a-kind charm and wit that exposes us to our innocent side as she tells us story after story of debauchery. But there is something much deeper here than just sexual escapades. When a shaving accident puts Helen in the hospital for anal surgery, she begins to think back to her troubled childhood where we clearly see some sort of abuse going on that has turned her into the unique woman she is today – good and bad. She takes an interest in a good looking male nurse (Christophe Letkowski) as she tells him of her past experiences, while she secretly hopes she can bring her divorced parents back together, something that almost every child with a broken home wants.
Juri is one of the most talented actresses I’ve seen in the last ten years and she plays Helen perfectly. You can see her character being eaten at from the inside and Juri’s face and eyes sell her torment, hurt, and love flawlessly. She really is an incredible character. And Wnendt’s camera picks up every squish, drip, and erotic moment perfectly as he takes his cues from David Fincher’s ‘Fight Club‘ and Danny Boyle’s ‘Trainspotting‘.
It’s an epic film of sexual perversion in the best way, but is told in a very sweet and loving fashion. The score and impressive soundtrack always add to the amusement of the film’s nature. ‘Wetlands‘ is a film you won’t soon forget.
'Wetlands' comes with an impressive 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The entire picture looks fantastic. It's sleek, clean, and simply beautiful. There are a few instances where the image is shot differently or under a different hue to make it look more like a vintage or dream-like feel, but it all looks top notch. The detail is very sharp and vivid at every moment, even in the wider shots, giving the image a lot of depth. Every nook and cranny of this film can be seen clearly, which is not always, well, hygienic to say the least.
But every individual hair, dirt mark, droplet of liquid or blood is crystal clear. The colors are simply beautiful and always pop off screen at all times. This is a very stylistic film, so the use of colors goes a long way here, and it is just flawless. It's as if almost every frame could be paused, printed out, and framed on a wall. It looks that good. The skin tones are natural and the black levels are very deep and inky at all times. There are no issues with any banding, aliasing, or video noise to speak of, leaving this video presentation with top marks.
This release comes with a great German lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix with excellent English subtitles. The sound effects here are amazing if not to a fault, because each of the squishy and grimy sound effects are loud, full, and robust, which might make you squirm out of your seat, considering the subject matter here. The ambient noises are also full of life and emanate from the rear speakers very nicely. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, and free of any instances of pops, cracks, and hissing.
The dynamic range here is extremely wide with some excellent highs and lows. The bass kicks into high gear from time to time as well, but is never over-shattering. The soundtrack and score always adds to fun and entertaining tone of the film. This soundtrack is definitely worth owning by itself. The LFE is also excellent, making this issue free audio presentation worth listening to over and over again.
Alternate Artwork (HD, 2 Mins.) - Alternative poster art for the film shown in a slideshow.
Trailers (HD, 6 Mins.) - Three types of trailers for the film.
'Wetlands' is one of the best films of the year, even if it's a bit on the on the perverse side of things. The film is just made so well and with so much style, that you can't help but root for the characters and keep from looking away. The acting in this film is award worthy and the story is just out of this world. The video and audio are top notch here, however the bonus features (if you can call them that) aren't worth the time. I only wish there were a ton of fun extras here. Maybe Criterion will pick this release up in the future. That being said, if you don't have a weak stomach and you don't mind perverse yet beautiful films, then I highly recommend you pick this up.