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 sorts.

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.