Monday, April 01, 2013

Past Perfect: Being John Malkovich (1999)

Home movie gems from the past few decades that need some dusting but never get old.

BJM

This odd but wonderful gem was the big screen debut of two of the most original minds in filmmaking - writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze. To even come up with the concept of this film is impressive enough, but to bring it to the screen in a way that is understandable, funny, emotional and highly entertaining is the stuff of genius. John Malkovich (Dangerous Liaisons, Empire of the Sun) stars as himself, of course. The film centres around a puppeteer (an untidy-looking and pitiable John Cusack, who is excellent here), who discovers a doorway in his office which is actually a portal into the mind of Malkovich. Anyone can slide in, and be Malkovich for around ten seconds. With time and experience, he uses his puppeteering skills to gain more control over the actor, but others also want a piece of the action. The film also stars a nearly unrecognizable Cameron Diaz and the ever-sultry Catherine Keener, and is a joy to watch again and again.

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