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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (15)

Review by: Graeme Kay | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with director Michel Gondry and writer Charlie Kaufman; 'A Look Inside Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' feature; A Conversation With Jim Carrey and Michel Gondry; Lacuna Inc. advertisement.

FANTASTICALLY dark, trippy comedy that comes over as a cross-between Donnie Darko and The Truman Show.

Goofy, commercial artist Joel (Jim Carrey) wakes up one day and decides to skive off work and visit the seaside instead.

So off he goes to the beach, where he meets this strange girl, Clementine (Kate Winslet), who seems to be following him.

Joel is intrigued by the prospect, but he's too girl-shy to do anything about it.

So, it's Clementine who makes all the running and, before long, the two oddballs have paired up and become an item. Or have they?

Joel is made-up with this development, and goes all out to keep the romantic fires burning with Clem, who seems to be as keen on Joel as he is on her. But is she really?

Then one day, Joel goes to visit Clementine at work and she appears not to know him.

In fact, she flatly denies that she has any clue at all who he is.

Joel is devastated. What has happened to make Clem treat him this way?

The answer is that Clem, for some reason that we never really discover, has had all her memories of Joel erased from her mind - courtesy of mad cap scientist, Dr Howard Mierzwiak (a great performance from Tom Wilkinson), and his band of merry assistants, led by Stan (likewise Mark Ruffalo).

Joel is shocked and deeply hurt by the discovery, so much so that to spare himself any more anguish, he decides to have his memories of Clem erased.

Simple, eh? If you can't live with 'em, wipe out all trace of them from your life.

However, what Joel hadn't counted on was his brain's resistance to losing the memory of his former girlfriend, and, as it fights to hold on to Clementine, we are taken on a brilliantly bewildering ride through time and inner-space, where reality and continually fantasy unite then separate, then intertwine again, as Joel's subconscious attempts to protect Clementine from the brain erasers.

Written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michael Gondry, this really is a brilliantly imaginative film, and provides yet another showcase for Carrey's celebrated talent.

But there's an edge to this performance from the Canadian funnyman that has not often been seen before.

On the dis-staff side of things, Winslet, in one of her best performances yet, and Kirsten Dunst, great as Ruffalo's mental bird, provide strong support, as the bizarre tale unwinds.

All round brilliance. Go see it, after all, if you don't like it, you could always have it wiped from your memory. Couldn't you?

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