Posted at 9:01 PM on March 1, 2008
by Euan Kerr
Having waited for close to a year to see Michel Gondry's latest film "Be Kind Rewind," there was the ever present worry that the final viewing would be a disappointment.
Gondry is a visual and conceptual genius who delights in building his own props. His videos and films have attracted a broad fan base, but also a lot of critics. David Denby in the New Yorker bluntly stated that Gondry shouldn't be allowed to shoot his own scripts as he gets embroiled in the joys of fiddling around with the tiny creative details, and forgets the cinematic whole.
Sitting in the dark watching the formulaic trailers running for some upcoming releases, the worries mounted.
Yet, you know what? This is a sweet, silly, and charming little movie. Jack Black and Mos Def play slightly dense video store denizens who find they have a major problem after one of them accidentally wipes all the tapes in the store. (The fact that the store has not made the jump to DVD yet is just one of many throwbacks in the story.)
Rather than admit what they have done, they decide to just reshoot the films on the same tapes. This is where Gondry's stylistic smarts come in as we get to see the two proto-movie moguls reshoot "Ghostbusters" and "Robocop" amongst others. The films are quite watchable
(In fact you can watch them on-line at the "Be Kind Rewind" web site.)
The film won't change the world, but there is a charming do-it-yourself vibe to the film which can never be bad if it encourges people to try shooting a movie or two themselves. In fact Gondry has designed an entire exhibit around the idea.