Writer and director Michel Gondry’s 2004 Academy Award-winning romantic sci-fi drama debuts on ultra-high definition packed with emotions and extras in Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind (Kino Lorber, rated R, 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 108 minutes, $39.95).
The bizarre tale, concocted by Charlie Kaufman (“Being John Malkovich”), finds the introvert Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) recovering from a failed two-year relationship with Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) that ended so abruptly and oddly that he wonders why she does not even recognize him, at all.
Enter the tech company Lacuna, led by Dr. Howard Mierzwiek (Tom Wilkinson), that for a price will gladly erase selective memories from a human mind. Clementine had the procedure done to erase Joel but after accidentally finding out, he also decides to have the procedure done.
However, a sloppy technician (Mark Ruffalo) botches the procedure while distracted by his girlfriend (Kirsten Dunst) causing Joel and his memories of Clementine to still have enough vague connection to each other to plot a reunion.
The potential to reignite the previously doomed romance gets cemented when a disgruntled employee releases all of the records to the Lacuna’s clients, and Joel and Clementine learn the absolute truths about their life together.
A dynamite cast and a quirky script deliver a masterpiece with even Ms. Winslet receiving an Academy Award nomination for her effort, but Mr. Carrey was oddly forgotten for an equally potent performance.
4K in action: The 4K remastering of the film was color graded by cinematographer Ellen Kuras and will erase all of the previous iterations by delivering a nearly spotless, screen-filling presentation.
Specifically, crisp, never too much film grain and a perfect balance of deep color, shadow and light make it the best version of the film ever released.
Just focus on the couple highlighted on snowy beach scenes; rain drenching Joel’s apartment; the pink, blue and purple and multicolored hair of Clementine; Joel wearing bright blue, airplane-themed pajamas in a 1960s-themed kitchen; and the texture on a dark green cap, to name just a few examples taking advantage of the upgrade.
Best extras: All of the digital goodies are found on the included Blu-ray disc of the film and culled from the 2011 high definition release from Universal Studios.
Kino Lorber also includes a new and informative, 18-minute interview with cinematographer Ellen Kuras. The segment has her discuss the hand-held camera shooting strategy and how she and the director interpreted memories and dreams on film with plenty of technical information on her cameras, lighting, film stock and crew mechanics.
Now, back to the vintage extras and start with an optional commentary track with the director and writer as they methodically work through the film.
Mr. Gondry’s French accent makes it difficult to understand some of his comments, but Mr. Kaufman keeps the momentum going as they dissect their masterpiece touching on the narrative themes, production minutiae, scene details and cast.
Keep the immersion going with 15-minute discussions with the director and Ms. Winslet; an equally fun discussion with Mr. Carrey and the director focused on the set memories; and a 17-minute meticulous breakdown of the computer visual effects in the Saratoga Avenue argument scene.