Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

A somewhat metaphorical title, as this movie is about neither science, nor sleep.

Mind you, it is about the way in which lead character Stéphane sleeps. In fact, he seems to be something of an expert in sleeping, spending not just all night at it, but often much of the day too. Sometimes he even drifts off into daydreams about sleep…

And this guy doesn't just dream, he sleepwalks, sleeptalks, and even sleepwrites.

Understandably he gets a bit confused about which events are real, as did I, which I was supposed to, I imagine.

While I tend to find dream-sequences quite fun, I'm afraid that this film never really engaged me. Partly this was because the lead character was not someone with whom I could really identify. Mainly though I think it was because the dreams that Stéphane has are nothing like my own.

His are drenched in retro visual effects, predominantly take place in the same rooms, and tend to feature the same half a dozen people. In short, just like dreams in the movies.

I might be wrong, but I don't think that impression was the intention.

A number of these scenes take place in his own imagined TV studio. Here too though, such a creative character for some reason imagines everything built out of cardboard. Eg. Why didn't he imagine a real camera?

It may sound like I was bored by this film - I wasn't. I watched it, followed it, and am glad to have seen it. It's also pleasingly uncompromising in its use of more than one language. I like that - this movie doesn't dumb itself down.

Michel Gondry strikes me as a director with good ideas, which he never quite pursues enough. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and Be Kind Rewind both fell short for me because neither one explored their imaginative concept's real-world potential and limitations. Similarly The Science Of Sleep never gets beyond beginning to examine dreams, which as I say aren't much like real ones.

Nice movie, but I think Stéphane has a lot more ideas in him than this.

(available here)


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