Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

I watched this film for the first time last night, and I have to say I was pretty disappointed. The basic premise of the film, in which a couple delete their memories of each other after breaking up, then re-discover each other, and begin their relationship anew, is an arresting concept. However, the film is all post-modern style, and very little substance. There are basically two, rather trite observations, which the form of the film highlights:

1) We need memory to make sense of our experiences.

2) Stories are conventionally told in a chronological sequence.

The film shows how confusing things become if memories and chronological sequences are disrupted or allowed to interfere with each other. At least an hour of the film is spent playing with this single, rather facile observation. This could have been a moving and poignant film if the writer and director, Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry respectively, had followed through on the basic premise, but, as it stands, it's just one long gimmick.

5 comments:

Andrew said...

I absolutely hated the much lauded Being John Malkovich. I thought it had a horrible lack of humanity. As you essentially say, intellectual gimmickry without any emotive depth is repellent.

Brit said...

Bit harsh, Gordon. Surely by Hollywood standards those two observations are very far from trite.

Bad guys bad. Good guys good. Good guys beat bad guys. Good. The end.

I thought the film was brilliant in that it managed to be both very confusing and very easy to follow.

Gordon McCabe said...

That's given me an idea, Brit: get Charlie Kaufman to produce re-edited, post-modern versions of Hollywood blockbusters. So, for example, Armageddon begins with Bruce Willis dying on the asteroid, and works its way back towards the destruction of Paris, via Liv Tyler's stream-of-consciousness.

Gordon McCabe said...

I haven't seen 'Being John Malkovitch', but given that Eternal Sunshine is supposed to be far less pleased with its own cleverness than former Charlie Kaufman films, I'm not sure I'd like it much.

Neil Forsyth said...

Being John Malkovich was up its own arse. Eternal Sunshine had a sense of humour.