Tuesday 18 January 2005

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - ickleReview (DVD)

Charlie Kaufman movie starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, a couple who had a wonderful relationship which went sour, so they get each other erased from their memories by Lacuna Inc., a memory correction clinic. But of course things go wrong. Director Michel Gondry creates some mind boggling visuals to acompany Kaufman's screenplay, drawing on techniques he developed in his music videos for - amongst others - The Chemical Brothers, and a commercial for Smirnoff: the sort of multi-plane, optical printer effect of a kaleidoscope. By far Carrey's career-best performance, surpassing even The Truman Show. There may be a couple of gratuitous funnyface scenes, but they are, on the whole, justified by the gait of the film. Winslet manages to be both likeably cute and neck-breakingly irritating, sometimes within the same scene. There are strong supporting roles played by Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood and Tom Wilkinson.

This ranks amongst my top films of the year and offered up more riches on a second viewing, like jiggling the pennies out of a piggy bank. Yet it still sounds as if there are more tinkling inside. Kaufman and Gondry ragbag between them some profound insights on memories - good and bad - and the uncanny metaworld of the deja-vu.

Nugget: Joel (Carrey, before undergoing the procedure): "Is there any risk of brain damage?"
Howard (Wilkinson,* the Doctor): "Well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you'll miss."

* Any thoughts you may have of former Leeds United and England caretaker managers is purely coincidental: a side-effect of Lacuna's techniques. Presumably they went on to manufacture "the flashy thing" for those MiB.

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