Movie Poster
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Michel Gondry
Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood
108 min.


I want to fight Philip Kaufman, I decided halfway though Sunshine. Why? you may ask. Well, why not? I'd probably win.

Sunshine has a better clever to irritating ratio than Adaptation or Human Nature. It has a better love story than Total Recall. It is less generic than You've Got Mail. It is not entirely insufferably worthless like Waking Life. Jim Carrey gives a better performance than in The Majestic. Elijah Wood gets less screen time than in Return of the King.

With all this going for it, Michel Gondry would have had to botch his arrangement of those elements pretty severly for it to turn out poorly. And he doesn't. Kaufman turns in his most interesting script since Being John Malkovich (certainly the only one that matches concept with any sort of execution) ripped open the market for Philip Kaufman-style "quirky" all those years ago. And Gondry reveals himself to be Kaufman's most interesting former-music-video-directing collaborator. The visuals here are trickier than the writing, with Carrey's walking into and out of memories convincingly rendered. In fact if it weren't for the artificial reliance on hand held camera (or is it a genuine reliance on artificial hand held camera?), this would qualify as one of the most visually interesting movies of recent memory on the strength of its mise-en-scene alone. Not particularly original, many of the same tricks turned up in the George Clooney-directed Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (weren't original to there, either), but consistently interesting nonetheless (and better than Mind).

It could also have used a better soundtrack. Mopey indie rock is the soundtrack equivalent of characters weeping single tears in slow motion. It's John Williams with drums and conveniently disheveled hair. But, at least its not Good Charlotte.

Pat Jackson