Being John Malkovich is a 1999 American fantasy comedy-drama film. It was written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze.
Spike Jonze also recently directed Her and is known for directing Where the Wild Things Are and Adaptation.
The film stars John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, and of course, John Malkovich.
Being John Malkovich has one of the most bizarre concepts that I have ever seen. Which is bizarre for me to say because I have seen some pretty strange stuff. Things like Star Knight and Donnie Darko come to mind. Fortunately, this film leans more toward the latter side of the spectrum.
In the film, Cusack plays the role of Craig Schwarts, a puppeteer that is in need of money. In-order to fix this, he applies for a job in Floor 7½ of a large building. (That’s the small room you see in the picture.) The movie is already strange from the beginning, as you can tell, but it goes into a completely different direction with he discovers a secret passageway.
A dark and desolate hole, … he climbs through, and fifteen minutes later he winds up on a ditch somewhere in New Jersey. Before that though, he’s in the mind of John Malkovich.
He sees what John sees. Naturally, they accept it, and begin selling the opportunity to be John Malkovich for anyone that will pay money.
The film’s premise was more than enough to peak my interest, and it continues to be bizarre. It’s not weird for the sake of it, but rather, it actually comes together in an interesting narrative. There’s a million-and-one different concepts thrown about and woven together, and what makes it strange is how well it works.
The concept isn’t the only thing that’s strange. The characters are strange. Their behaviors are strange. And once again, it strangely works.
It is said that Charlie Kaufman wrote the story specifically about John Malkovich. Evidently, Charlie liked the way that his name sounded when it was repeated over and over. When Spike Jonze called about the film, John Malkovich was supposedly “intrigued and horrified”.
The movie is strives almost entirely off its concept, it’s too smart to be dismissed, but the acting is also placed in capable hands. There wasn’t one actor in-particular that stood out to me, but it’s more to say that everybody was consistent. They held something together that could have easily been in shambles.
The originality is mind-numbing. I’ve legitimately never seen anything like it before or since. It’s simple, but brilliant.
In conclusion, I don’t have any criticisms about this film. I won’t force my way into finding one either. Instead, I’ll simply say that I thought it was a tremendous film. Something that writers or storytellers strive to come up with. It’s something that feels so uniquely intricate and thought-provoking that you can’t help but find at least something to love about it.
Thanks for reading…