Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Science of Sleep

Picture a cerebral television studio constructed of cardboard. A giant television monitor portrays pasts and possibilities. A lonely room with two giant windows whose cardboard shades blink to let in the morning light. The announcer a dreamer, who is broadcasting from the interior of his own mind. He is a young Mexican man who has come to his mother in France following his father's death. He is a young man whose dreams are blurred with his reality. Welcome to the world of the Science of Sleep.

Gael Garcia Bernal plays this young man, Stephane Miroux. Stephane is an artist and gadget maker. He is a dreamer. He is somewhat a loner who has trouble expressing himself, especially with the fairer sex. This movie is a love story of sorts, where Stephane fumbles around as he tries to begin a relationship with Stephanie, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg. These two actors seemed to have good chemistry and the acting was good, but I really had trouble following a lot of the movie. Some of the lines they delivered were very soft, although much of the movie was sub-titled which is another issue altogether. The acting in this movie wasn't bad, but it didn't engage me.

I really wanted to like this movie, but it was very sporadic. There was a lot going on that made this movie hard to follow, despite the fact that it was often very slow. The sub-titles were very distracting, especially when there was quite a bit of background detail to be had. Bernal is a gifted actor who is fluent in English and Spanish. In this movie he also delivered lines in French. The language switched back and forth with a degree of regularity. Done entirely in English, I might have been able to follow a bit more closely. I think that the inability of this movie to engage me with the dialogue caused me to lose interest. Maybe something was lost in some of the translations, but the movie has a lot of strange themes that require a degree of attention. I don't feel I was able to concentrate fully on all the details.

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