Clockwork Banana
Human Nature
Review by Ross Anthony

A beautiful woman with a body covered with hair, an uptight scientist whose passion is teaching mice to use table manners, a man raised in the wild by an ape (well, by a man who thought he was an ape): three stories weave together slowly making sense and or little sense (purposely of course) with the soul point of Human Natureentertaining. Oh, there's also the occasional statement of razor sharp truth, "Just don't do all those things that you really want to do ... then you'll be civilized." (I paraphrase.)

If you like quirky, odd movies and/or irony, here's a fun one.

From the writer of another fun weird little film called, "Being John Malkovich," "Human Nature" maturely develops an offbeat idea. Tim Robbins and Rhys Ifans (as the ape/man) are both strong, but Patricia Arquette successfully empathetically realizes her difficult dynamic role as the hairy woman. All others perform well, and in a small cartoony roll spoofing the 1950's TV dad, Robert Forster cracked me up.

Minor technical problems plagued my particular screening, with the film losing focus at reel changes. Nor was the cute little hawk/mice parable all that smashing. Cinematically clinical (aside from Tim Robbins in limbo), the picture relies on good storytelling, acting, direction, humor and oddity. It works.

Rhys Ifans says that the four central characters are "coming from completely different places and somehow Charlie manages to weave this fabric where these people collide. And it's so important that you have filmmakers and actors that understand the nature of that collision. Because when they do, it's a magical experience, as opposed to an episode of 'Benny Hill.'"

  • Human Nature. Copyright © 2002. Rated R.
  • Starring Tim Robbins, Rhys Ifans, Patricia Arquette, Robert Forster, Mary Kay Place, Rosie Perez, Miranda Otto (Gabrielle).
  • Directed by Michel Gondry.
  • Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman.
  • Produced by Charlie Kaufman, Anthony Bregman, Ted Hope, Spike Jonze at StudioCannal France/Fine Line.

Grade..........................Very Strong B+

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:09:11 PDT