Be Kind Rewind (US, 2008)

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er... Robocop!

Writer-director Michel Gondry will always be a ‘must-see’ for me after Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004); I love the quirky way he views the world. Be Kind Rewind had a platform release in North America and grossed around $11m. It was released wide, before this, in the UK and took over £3.5m. Given the rough estimate that films in N.America take, on average, 10 times as much as in the UK, it’s clear that Gondry’s quirky sensibility plays much better here. There are plenty of ‘names’ (Black-Gibson-Def) to sell the film even though it remains an indie production from New Line (owned by Time Warner).

Be Kind Rewind is both ‘anti’ and ‘pro’ Hollywood; it satirises the major studio’s punitive approach to piracy (the always-great-to-see-Sigourney Weaver cameos as their lawyer) but acknowledges the ‘dreams’ produced by Hollywood are important through the characters’ own film about Fats Waller (who never in fact lived in the video store): ‘print the legend’.

The resolutely low-fi approach of the film-makers, video not digital, and do-it-yourself special effects, also fondly pokes fun at Hollywood and results in some tremendous visuals; the cut-out motor cars are terrific (and the  camouflage joke is inspired).

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