being john malkovich (1999)

by zEke

being john malkovich posterThere are people that stick to the rule, and even though they might be brilliant at what they do, they are at something that almost everyone else is doing. Then, there are people that do everything but sticking to the rule. Those are more difficult to find. Because there are not many and because it is hard for them to make their voices heard, since everyone else is looking in a different direction. But every now and then the planets align and some of them find a way out of the anonymity and connect with a mainstream audience.

That is the case of Charlie Kaufman, who started his career as a television screenwriter and made the jump to the big screen thank to the original script of being john malkovich. And ever since he has definitely measured up with adaptation (2002) and the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (2004), and maybe less with human nature (2001). He also adapted confessions of a dangerous mind (2002), and is ready to release synecdoche, new york (2008), his directorial debut.

Kaufman takes pleasure in a surreal and complex story about the people we are and the people we would like to be. And he enjoys himself throwing in ingredients as outlandish as one can imagine but still shining. Immortality, infidelities, puppetering, get mixed up by Kaufman’s pen. He reigns over the nonsense of all together and succeeds at making the experience appealing to the viewer. All this with the help of Spike Jonze, one of the most renowned music video directors of our time, who understood what he was up to and translated it to the big screen just right, without unnecessary adornments but with a big dose of originality. The chase through Malkovich’s subconscious and Malkovich journey to his own consciousness are brilliant.

Craig Schwartz (John Cusack), an unsuccessful puppeteer, his wife Lotte Schwartz (Cameron Diaz), his officemate Maxine Lund (Katherine Keener), and John Malkovich (John Malkovich) are the characters the story turns around. After not being able to launch his career as a puppeteer and talking to his wife about it, Schwartz starts as a filing clerk for Lester Corporation, whose offices are in the floor seven and a half of the Mertin Flemmer building in Manhattan. There he falls in love with Lund and finds a portal to Malkovich’s consciousness.

For those wondering, Malkovich is right as Malkovich. What if in the end he would have turn off the role, as he originally did? In that case, someone else would have been John Malkovich, wouldn’t he? Cusack and Diaz are better than usual, which, on the other hand, is not saying much, and Keener, Keener is sexy.

Brilliant if you speak the same language Kaufman and Jonze do.

For the deadhours of those who want to get away from themselves.

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official site | imdb

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4 Comments

  1. I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    – Randy Nichols.

  2. I love this movie haha, malkovich, malkovich, malkovich. That scene when he warps to the resturaunt and everything says malkovich haha. Cool post about the background :)

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  3. thanks… definitely another of the gems of the movie… malkovich malkovich malkovich…

  4. Hace mucho que vi esta película, quizás no fue el momento ni el lugar, la recuerdo como una vida que carece de sentido y un anhelo de huir de ella.


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