Thursday, July 2, 2015

I wanted to love you...


Michel Gondry has directed one of my Top Three favorite films of all time; ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’.  I’m starting to feel like Gondry is a one-hit wonder.  I haven’t seen ‘The Science of Sleep’, although the reviews left me cold and I never felt drawn to it.  I did see ‘Be Kind Rewind’, which was…interesting.  It was fun, but it also felt forgettable.  ‘The Green Hornet’ had some sharp moments, but overall it was a thankless film.  I never even knew ‘The We and the I’ was made, so I guess I’ll need to check that one out (or will I?), and then we have ‘Mood Indigo’, a film that didn’t get very good reviews but managed to snag my attention with the visual look of the film.

So I was excited to see Gondry excite me again.

He didn’t.



While ‘Mood Indigo’ is a stunning visual treat (albeit purposefully tacky in some spots), the film itself is the wrong kind of whimsy and winds up being a completely forgettable (and somewhat draining) experience.  It took a near forty minutes for me to even begin to care about this film.  The first twenty minutes or so was so intendedly bizarre and pointless that I found myself literally checking out.  I didn’t care.  It was quirky without purpose and so, in the end, was just silly.

The prose is one that I actually found endearing.  I love adult fairytales and I love bizarre, and Gondry had such success with a whimsical adult fairytale before (like, that really is what ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ is) and so I thought the idea of a woman with a flower growing in her lungs and the desperate attempt by her lover to find a cure sounded so…fresh and exciting.  Visually, the film is.  The sets, the cinematography, the colors and lighting and the musical accompaniments are so exciting…but the movie itself is just a chore.

Romain Duris is pretty awful here, Audrey Tautou (who I loved that one time…you know the time) was just kind of there (she’s so pretty, but you have to give me more than that) and Omar Sy is just kind of hard to watch (awkward), but really, I blame Gondry for doing everything wrong with this premise.  The screenplay is just plain bad.


And this is where I’m seeing a trend in Gondry’s missteps.  His Oscar winning masterpiece was written by the brilliant Charlie Kaufman (Gondry had story ideas, but Kaufman penned the screenplay).  Gondry penned ‘The Science of Sleep’, ‘Be Kind Rewind’, ‘The We and the I’ and he adapted ‘Mood Indigo’.  Maybe Gondry’s problem is that he has great ideas and no idea how to craft them in a clever and profound way.  His films apart from Kaufman lack a feeling of depth of importance.  They lack real substance.  They are just there, and when they’re not there, they’re gone.

They don’t linger.


D.

18 comments:

  1. This film had a few beautiful moments (love the final shot) but overall it's wayy too quirky, to an aggressive/overwhelming degree. Could have been so much better if he just eased off the whimsy a bit.

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    1. Exactly! It was whimsy to a fault, with no point or restraint. It needed to balance that with meaning or substance and it just didn't offer that.

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  2. This sounds interesting on paper, I like Duris and Tatou who's been in other movies together I believe. I had no idea Gad Emaleh is an actor, I know he's a stand up comic [who's my crush *rival* as he's in a relationship w/ the woman he's in love with for years, Charlotte Casiraghi]. But oy, if the screenplay's bad, the movie's likely gonna be bad too, no matter who's in the cast.

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    1. Yeah, this was an interesting failure, but a failure nonetheless.

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  3. Oh no! I'm disappointed you didn't like this at all (I found it entertaining), but I can see how it can be too whimsical. Beautiful imagery though.

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    1. Oh, it was stunning to look at, for sure!

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  4. Which version of the film did you see? There's 2 different versions of the film. The 94-minute U.S. version and the 125-minute international version.

    I do want to see this as I'm a fan of Michel Gondry. See The Science of Sleep and The We & I as I think they're his finest works. He wasn't fond of The Green Hornet because it was a studio picture and he got compromised by the studio.

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    1. I saw the international version. It was over 2 hours.

      I'll check out his other two films, if for nothing else to be able to do a visual review of his work.

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    2. I would also recommend his short film from Tokyo! although the entire film is fucking great.

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  5. Nice review Fisti. I love Audrey, but I don't think I can watch a bad movie just for her. I've been meaning to see the 'Science of Sleep,' which I heard was quite good. Did you ever see 'Dirty Pretty Things?'

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    1. No, I need to see Dirty Pretty Things!

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  6. Well I was never a big fan of Eternal Sunshine so I suppose I should stay away from this one as far as possible :)

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    1. Not...a...fan...of...Eternal...Sunshine?

      This doesn't compute. I can't process this. That must be a typo.

      :-P

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    2. It's a good movie, but it just didn't click with me. I can see why people like it but it didn't move me as much as it should have.

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    3. Oh, I know it's not for everyone :-P

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  7. I quite liked this one, and The Science of Sleep is an interesting film as well. While Gondry's films are interesting visually, I've always admired their quirkiness as well, even if he hasn't topped Eternal Sunshine.

    I'll second the Dirty Pretty Things recommendation, but not for Tautou. I love the screenplay, which thankfully the Oscars recognized, and Ejiofor is great.

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    1. I'll have to check that one out!

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