Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Science of Sleep

The Science of Sleep (Michel Gondry, 2006) [6]
This is a frustrating film to me at times, mostly due to the childish nature of it, which could also be perhaps its greatest strength. The film, just as the Stephane character, has a hard time distinguishing between dreams and reality. I can't say that I really enjoyed the narrative skipping back and forth; it becomes too disjointed and irritating at times, but I can see its purpose in the overall structure. This film succeeds in what it wants to do to and for that, I have to give it some respect. Gondry's unique visual style is certainly on display here, most notably his use of stop-time animation. The whimsy and inventiveness of the visuals highlight the dream segments but never quite translate over to reality reliably. The performances are solid, especially Gael Garcia Bernal as the perpetual man-child who makes naive drawings of disasters and sleeps in his childhood bed. His relationship with Stephanie, while refreshing that it focuses heavily on the neuroses of a relationship, never has any real emotional significance in it for me. It's a series of fleeting moments that never really have a chance to develop any qualities outside of Stephane's mind. Stephane's dreams can be the most interesting part of the film at times, and at others, become the most irritating. But I give Gondry credit for taking a risk on something so different.

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