2 March 2008 | Benedict_Cumberbatch
The Purple Rose of Passaic
Michel Gondry's new film is NO "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", but it's better than "The Science of Sleep" and doesn't deserve the negative reviews it's been getting. Without Charlie Kaufman writing, Gondry's script might be a little less original, but his visual creativity (no one else knows how to make art out of cardboard boxes like him!) and passion for his story makes "Be Kind Rewind" some kind of special.
Mos Def and Jack Black work at Danny Glover's video store and, after Black gets "magnetized", he unintentionally turns every tape in the store blank. They have the brilliant idea of remaking the customers' favorite movies (from "Driving Miss Daisy" to "Last Tango in Paris"), and they suddenly become the local sensation. Some moments are very funny, others not so much, but this is not supposed to be a Farrelly Bros. kind of flick. With a simple but very compelling idea, Gondry created a story about people's love for movies, the sense of community, the compulsion for memories, the oblivion of old-time artists (the Fats Waller subplot) and old-fashioned technology (should Glover finally adhere to DVDs?). Gondry said in an interview: "I am not against modern things. I use technology, but what I am against is when the technology creates a system that makes you believe you need to use it". I couldn't agree more. By the end, even though not being a masterpiece like "Eternal Sunshine", "Be Kind Rewind" leaves you with the bittersweet feeling of other movies about our love for film-making, more notably "The Purple Rose of Cairo" (by the way, Mia Farrow plays the video store's most loyal customer) and "Cinema Paradiso". Definitely worth seeing. 8/10.