Being John Malkovich
- rated - HOT! HOT! HOT!
The Devil in Mr Jonze
Being John Malkovich is one of the most original films I've seen in the
last few years. It is funny, fresh and intelligent. It is off-the-wall,
without being that most dreaded of things - "quirky". It takes an idea
and runs with it, much further than you could possibly expect.
It's not so much a feature film, as a series of jokes strung together.
But it works. The fact that it has an excellent cast helps a lot. John
Cusak is amazing to watch. Neither he nor Cameron Diaz - who plays his
wife - look anything like the way we know them. Catherine Keener (whom
you may recognize from a Seinfeld episode) makes an suitably venal
femme fatale. Charlie Sheen has an excruciating cameo. And John
Malkovich (playing John Horatio Malkevich) brings just the right air of
slightly creepy self-deprecation to the role. The scene in which he
orders towels for his bathroom is disturbingly hilarious.
All dialogue is fast and smart and the ideas are delightfully
preposterous. First-time director Spike Jonze (who comes from the music
video scene) has a wonderful comic touch and an affinity with anarchy.
This is something like a Monty Python or at least a Terry Gilliam film
- the usual rules do not apply. Its closest relative in literature
would likely be Alice in Wonderland. There's even a rabbit-hole of
You must see Being John Malkovich. Otherwise you won't understand it
when people start singing "Malkovich Malkovich". It's not the greatest
film ever made, and it's not going to affect you emotionally or change
your life, but it sure made me laugh and it sure kept me guessing. I
think the film has a lot to say about identity and aspiration, but
really, the messages of the film take second place to the sheer joy of
changing gears and heading off in unexpected directions every few
minutes. That, and the fun of watching some of the most mind-blowing
love scenes ever filmed.