Zia is a young man who kicks off the movie with a suicide. He then narrates the story as a man who is doomed to live out a second life in a sort of purgatory for people who took their own lives. It's an empty existence for all involved and the drab carcass of a landscape seems a fitting prison for those who apparently failed to see the beauty of their former existences (the only suicides in this story are ones where there were plenty of alternatives besides death, making punishment more acceptable to the audience. There were no cases of people wishing to end it all rather than face a slow, suffering, fatal illness, for example.) Along his journey through this world, he makes the aquaintance of a Russian ex-rocker (Shea Whigham) and a stunningly beautiful and quietly charming young lady (Shannyn Sossamon).
It very definitely has the feel of an art house short with a basic message to extend to the audience with very little beyond a straight forward A plot. In this case, simplicity is not a bad thing, though perhaps my curious mind is what made me feel something was lacking by not knowing more about the characters beyond their suicides. If you acknowledge the limited exposition as you would with a short movie, it's a lot more enjoyable. Despite not knowing the characters' former lives, I still found them to be quite endearing and intruiging. They tend not to reveal much about who they used to be, perhaps because it's too painful to recall a time when chances were open to them, but there's also a hint that those memories are a little elusive and just beyond their reach.
Thanksfully, the movie wasn't so cheesy as to have notorious celebrity and/or historical suicide victims strolling around, which would have strongly detracted from the charming little plot. It seems, anyway, that death truly is the great equalizer, as no one appears to be of any more or less significance than anyone else and certainly no happier or more successful.
Some thought was put into the soundtrack for this film (Some tracks available on their Myspace music page. Take the time to listen to Through the Roof 'N' Undergound, it's sung in character by Whigham, but I still enjoyed it!). Four of the songs were sung by people who ended their own lives barring Bobby Johnston's pieces (he's the film's composer), Mushman, and songs sung by the characters. I just checked out Mushman's Myspace page and I must say, I rather like their song Spaceman. They included one of my favorite songs of misery and woe: Gloomy Sunday. I was delighted to find out it was Artie Shaw's rendition. I love Artie Shaw.
Overall, it wasn't the best movie I've seen all year, but it was charming and refreshingly different. I was glad we finally got around to watching it and joining them for the ride.