The premise of the film was enough to hook me onto wanting to watch it. Michel Gondry’s latest piece, Be Kind Rewind, has Jack Black starring as a power plant worker/conspiracy theorist who gets magnetized trying to sabotage the plant and ends up erasing all the vhs tapes at his best mate’s (Mos Def) video store. They then decide to re-film every video that people want to rent out from Ghostbusters thru to Robocop and Rush Hour.

The website alone is fantastic. I can’t understand why ratings for this film aren’t higher than they are. You have to be a prick to not like this. That or a really sad, miserable sod. And a prick. At the same time.

Check out the official trailer!

It’s got Jack Black, Mos Def and Danny Glover among others so you know its gonna be funny one way or other. I just didn’t expect it to be quite so heartfelt and engaging as it was. I suppose I shoulda known at the start, when a “documentary” introduces everything with Mos Def playing Fats Waller, the American Jazz pianist. That serves as the backdrop for a discussion about racial tension/cohesion, big business versus small business and new school hip-hop versus old school jazz. These issues are all played out in the film, with every facet there is to show, from the films they choose to re-create and the lines every character has. It’s so much more than just a simple comedy and in my opinion, manages to lay on the schmaltz without being totally contrived.

One brilliant thing about the film is that it introduces the sublime concept of Sweding, which is “re-making something from scratch using whatever you can get your hands on”. You can check out all the sweded films in BKR on the official website and believe me, they’re way better than the original versions. You can even swede your own website and submit it and put yourself on the cover of a famous film.

Which leads back to the question about whether all these shitty films that Hollywood makes are any good at all. Perhaps, small-time, independent, low budget shit is just as good. BKR is one part Gondry’s madcap art film ideas and one part using those ideas in comparison to the issues the film revolves around.

Its brilliant how he manages to capture little itty bitty essential details about say, Lord of the Rings, for instance using simple ingenuity and no budget. The sweded LOTR may be really camp and kitschy, but then again, the actual film has pretty much the same qualities. It may have a far bigger budget and infinitely more gloss but its still kinda cheesy really. Now, don’t ge me wrong, I love LOTR as much as anybody. I’m just saying that maybe, sometimes, you gotta appreciate the little things in life, like Proton Guns shooting X’mas tinsel. That’s just ducking fawesome.

I suppose another part of the beauty of sweding shit, is that you get involved, your friends get involved. You feel like you’re a part of it rather than having to pay $12.50 or whatever to see Tom Cruise shoot planes out of the sky. Also, you get the chance to rewrite stuff, like say, make Valerie Chow totally naked in her scene with Tony Leung in Chungking Express and then make a connection between that and the cult of celebrity falsehood and recent HK sex scandals. Ok fine, I pretty much just want to have some sort of excuse to star in a movie with a hot naked chick but I also want to be arty and pretentious. But mostly, its the hot naked chick thing, which makes me a lot less arty and pretentious.

If you saw the official trailer, you now have to check out the sweded version of the trailer, starring Michel Gondry himself, a masterpiece in its own right and possibly inspiration to a million sweders.