Thursday, January 28, 2010

#11-Being John Malkovich (1999)

Being John Malkovich

Remember awhile back when I was reviewing the film Synechdoche, New York? I absouloutly loved that movie, and I gave most of the credit to writer/director Charlie Kaufman. Remember how I said that I hope to be reviewing more of his films as the time goes on? Well here is another! His first big picture was Being John Malkovich. It was originally quite a small film, with a very impressive cast, which includes: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Cathrine Keener, and of course, John Malkovich. The film is very fun, very quick, and sure to make you question your own sanity. Unlike Synechdoche, this film is not also directed by Kaufman, this one is directed by Spike Jonze, who would go on to direct another Kaufman film, and Where The Wild Things Are.

What did I tell you? Charlie Kaufman is one of the most original minds in Hollywood today. Being John Malkovich is about a struggling puppeteer, who, in lack of a demand for pupetts, gets a job on the 7th and a half floor of a large office building. While here, he finds a small door in his office, which, once crawled through, leads you inside John Malkovich. Seeing in great detail what this could mean for him, and his stuggling family, him and a co-worker hatch an plan to sell trips into John Malkovich for $200 a pop.

First off, let me tell you that this film is led by an allstar cast. All of whom perform marvelously here. I am usually not a very big John Cusack fan, or haven't been lately, but he does excellenty here. He pulls off his role quite well, and even does an interesting job with some wacky hair, and outfits. Neither am I a fan of Cameron Diaz, (with some exceptions), but she does excellently here as well, as a pet obsessed young woman. Cathrine Keener was even nominated for an Oscar for her performance here, and it is certainly deserved. And then of course there is John Malkovich, who I always love, and her sure does an excellent job playing himself, granted a very fictionalized version, but himself nonetheless.

"What happens when a man goes into his own head?"

Though Spike Jonze also got nominated for an Academy Award for his directing on the film, I still feel that at this point, he hadn't fully developed his craft quite yet, which he is now, nearly flawless at. The film seemed very strange in length. I still cannot tell whether this film was too long, or too short, because it has very odd pacing. It just seemed to end rather ubruptly. Granted, I still think this is one of the few films that ends nearly perfectly, it just wraps up, too quickly, I suppose it is.

Charlie Kaufman is always excellent at what he does, as I have praised before. And this is no different. Though Being John Malkovich is not my favorite film he has done, it is still an amazing piece of cinema. While most of Kaufman's works are fantasy grounded in reality, this one seems mostly fantasy. Don't get me wrong the film is still deeply rooted in human nature and existence, but you won't realize that until after the fact. As Synechdoche, was one of his darker films, Malkovich, is one of his lighter.

As you can tell, I really like this movie, Being John Malkovich is a great whimsical adventure to be enjoyed by all who care to enjoy it. Watch it as a fantasy, watch it as a drama, however you watch it, just be sure to watch it. Let the message, the acting, the story, the lighting, the editing (which is excellent), the music, the direction, and all the other factors seep into you, so you can truly enjoy this amazing piece in movie history. It breaks the fourth wall, it acts as if there are multiple dimensions to a single one, it is just a lot of fun.

I Give Being John Malkovich A:

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