Highly enjoyable homage to the joys of hanging out in a video store from general genius Michel Gondry. Mos Def plays the Be Kind Rewind employee left in charge when store owner Danny Glover heads off on a mission to work out why no-one's coming to their shop anymore (clue: errr, they don't stock DVDs). Jack Black is his goof-off friend working in a junk yard in the neighbourhood and generally causing trouble. Without giving too much away, all the tapes in the shop get wiped, so they start shooting their own versions of films like Driving Miss Daisy, Ghostbusters and Robocop to rent out to customers like Mia Farrow instead. These "Sweded" re-workings take off and it plays out from there...
It's a great excuse for Gondry to make the most of his imaginative lo-fi powers - the films are pretty sloppy, but totally charming - reminds you of the days when you'd get a video camera and just start shooting any old stuff, in order, without editing. Def and Black make a cool double act, it's fun seeing Mia Farrow in something daft again, and there's even room for a Kid Creole cameo. Once they get going, there's a brilliant montage zipping through their new films in classic Gondry style, flowing from one to the next - would love to know if it was all done in one take or not - kind of think it's the sort of thing he'd at least attempt just to see if it could be done.
Marking this one on a Gondry scale: The Science Of Sleep was an easy **** and Eternal Sunshine stands up as a full ***** experience. Be Kind Rewind is a smaller film in some ways, even though it's got a bigger cast. It's still totally enjoyable, but more like one of Graham Green's "entertainments" - a fun work that's still got a lot of heart and is saying something (communities falling apart/ big business taking over everything/ change/ friendship/ how good Robocop is) - but is basically more about the fun of making and watching it. For me, Science and Sunshine packed in a real emotional depth with the inventive camerawork and goofy plots - to say this isn't quite up there isn't to diss it, just to acknowledge how outstanding those two are. Can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
Almost made me miss all the hundreds of VHS tapes I've
chucked out freecycled over the years.