Gondry delivers something uniquely personal

The Science Of Sleep gives the distinct impression that Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind was an attempt to make Michel Gondry’s sprawling visual creativity palatable to a mainstream audience.

As director and sole writer of The Science Of Sleep, Gondry maximises his creative freedom to deliver something uniquely personal; his off-kilter eye perfectly complimented by a strange exploratory story entirely of his own making.

As you’d expect from Gondry, the cast is coolness personified. Gael García Bernal takes centre-stage as Stephane, an artistic individual lured back to Paris by his mother’s guarantee of a suitably expressive job with a calendar publisher. His nocturnal fantasies, where he hosts Stephane TV and is an authority on the science of sleep, are already complex enough as he struggles to draw boundaries between reality and the dream world. It’s this very problem that hinders his desired romance with neighbour Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg).

There’s no denying that The Science Of Sleep sounds pretentious, but its mostly comprehensible plot makes it a thoroughly accessible experience. Just as importantly, it’s damn funny with Stephane’s misinterpretation of the world and his bafflement with his two connected mindsets coming a close second to Alain Chabat’s riotous performance as office worker Guy.

All of which would be fairly pointless if it wasn’t for Gondry’s inimitable style, which could quite easily carry a far lesser tale than we have on display here. The film’s very nature dictates that it won’t be to everyone’s liking, whether that’s due to its relative inaction, its inherent oddness or because narrative progression isn’t a major part of the plot’s structure. But with utter uniqueness and a soul of gold, The Science Of Sleep is like listening to a Flaming Lips album with the power of taste.


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