Saturday, 12 May 2012

27/04/2012: Being John Malkovich [1999]

"Ever wanted to be someone else?" That is the tagline for Being John Malkovich, but isn't that the entire reason we watch movies? To be someone else? Being John Malkovich may be one of the strangest movies out there, but it does ask an important question, one everyone already knows the answer to.

I watched Being John Malkovich for a number of reasons. The first was that it is about to be released as part of The Criterion Collection, (I've watched 4 movies from the collection this week, starting with this one) and that generally means its good, although some of the film lean toward the more arthouse side of things than I like. However, anyone that read the plot summary of Being John Malkvich is likely to be so confused, and yet intrigued as to watch this movie. So here it is:

A puppeteer discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of the movie star, John Malkovich.

So now you're thinking, what the hell is this movie about. I'll get to that, maybe. The second reason I watched this movie that night was I was reading an article on The Raven starring John Cusack, and I've been seeing his name and the picture of him circulating for a while now, and every time  (is this really two words?) I think, should I recognize this guy. Then I looked him up and Bam!, without a beard I realized exactly who he was. While he tends to choose some of the stranger movies, Cusack is a great actor, and so having failed to recognize him, I made it up by watching Being John Malkovich.

I hope Lestercorp has good medical benefits, because your back will be needing some after working here.
Being John Malkovich doesn't get strange, it starts off strange and weird from the get go. The opening scene, involves a Craig Schwartz, (Cusack), performing a puppet-show, and then he is working for a company that rents the 7 1/2th floor of a building. While these and a number of other encounters are strange enough things only get stranger. Soon, Craig finds a small door on the already squished half a floor, and proceeds to crawl inside. This door is in fact a portal which leads into the mind of John Malkovich, and while you may wonder what the hell that even means, it is best to watch the movie yourself. Being John Malkovich is a movie with a plot you could never explain without making yourself sound insane and the movie ridiculous.

As cool as the small door is, I would not have crawled into that tunnel that quickly.
Why John Malkovich? I think everyone that watches this movie asks that, and it is not simply because Malkovich signed on for the part. The script was written with him in mind, and was approached about it several times. However, Malkovich resisted for nearly 2 years, although he liked the script, he did not think he was right to star in it and instead offered only to fund it. However, after watching the movie it is hard to think of an actor who could have pulled the role off as well as he did. John Malkovich literally plays himself, but not his real self, and later things get even stranger, but I won't spoil it. Either way Malkovich gave one hell of a performance in this movie.

The rest of the stars do equally well, if their roles aren't quite as complex. John Cusack plays a very strange puppeteer, and becomes entangled in one hell of a strange love square, or is it a triangle still? The two women, Craigs wife, Lotte and the seductive Maxine are played by Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener respectively. Both Diaz and Keener were nominated for a number of awards and Keener even won a few. The movie itself however raked in 48 nominations and over 40 wins for its originality and story.

It's that guy that played that jewel thief, you know in that movie?
So at this point you are still wondering what the hell is this movie about. I really couldn't tell you it without ruining all the fun. let its accomplishments and awards speak for themselves and accept that this is an extremely unique, original and amazing movie. There are those who might not like it or understand it, but either way everyone should watch this movie. I will definitely be picking up a Criterion Collection copy of this and will continue to force it down the throat of anyone who has not seen it.

Being John Malkovich IMDb

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