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Being John Malkovich (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Being John Malkovich (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
While too many movies suffer the fate of creative bankruptcy, Being John Malkovich is a refreshing study in contrast, so bracingly original that you'll want to send director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman a thank-you note for restoring your faith in the enchantment of film. Even if it ultimately serves little purpose beyond the thrill of comedic invention, this demented romance is gloriously entertaining, spilling over with ideas that tickle the brain and even touch the heart. That's to be expected in a movie that dares to ponder the existential dilemma of a forlorn puppeteer (John Cusack) who discovers a metaphysical portal into the brain of actor John Malkovich.
The puppeteer's working as a file clerk on the seventh-and-a-half floor of a Manhattan office building; this idea alone might serve as the comedic basis for an entire film, but Jonze and Kaufman are just getting started. Add a devious coworker (Catherine Keener), Cusack's dowdy wife (a barely recognizable Cameron Diaz), and a business scheme to capitalize on the thrill of being John Malkovich, and you've got a movie that just gets crazier as it plays by its own outrageous rules. Malkovich himself is the film's pièce de résistance, riffing on his own persona with obvious delight and--when he enters his own brain via the portal--appearing with multiple versions of himself in a tour-de-force use of digital trickery. Does it add up to much? Not really. But for 112 liberating minutes, Being John Malkovich is a wild place to visit. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Four fantastic performances are given by John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener and Malkovich himself, and they are guided by Spike Jonze' direction and Mr. Kaufman's screenplay.
Cusack is a gifted, tortured, starving artist, and not just any artist, but a puppeteer - working with marionettes. The film opens with a marionette performance so poignant it seems neary human - the performance reminds me of the opening of "White Nights" in which Baryshnikov dances "Le Jeune Homme Et La Mort". In White Nights it takes a moment before you recognize that you are watching a performance of a ballet, and in this film the marionette is so life-like it doesn't require much suspension of disbelief to think the puppet alive. In another similarity between the two films later on a human-sized marionette is made to "dance" the lead role in "Swan Lake" surrounded by human ballerinas. The rest of this film is SO startlingly original that it's easy to overlook the fact that the movie has some REALLY skilled puppeteering in it.
But I digress. Puppeteering doesn't pay Cusack well, so there are money arguments between John and wife Cameron Diaz, who looks like a cross between a street person and a washer-woman here. She works in a pet store and keeps a collection of animals including a dog, ferret, bird and chimpanzee - all apparently with some form of veterinary post-traumatic stress disorder. Diaz' Lotte is the kind of person who forms close emotional ties with animals but has more difficulty being intimate with other humans.Read more ›
The story here starts with the life of a struggling artist/puppeteer,Craig.He is married to Lotte who owns a menagerie of animals,not the least of which is a chimp who has "issues".Out of work,Craig finally applies for a real job,which takes him to the 7 and 1/2 floor of an old office building in NYC.The boss there is one Dr Lester,a kind old man,whose secretary has a doctorate in speech impedimentology(?),but has trouble understanding the simplest of phrases.
Craig meets and falls hard for a woman who works on the that floor,Maxine.His feelings are unrequited,and he has to work through them through his puppets at night.One day he drops a file behind a cabinet.He pulls it out only to discover a trapped door.Behind that is a tunnel/portal which he soon discovers leads directly into the mind of John Malkovich.After about 15 minutes in his mind,one is deposited beside the busy New Jersey Turnpike.He tells his wife,who takes the "plunge"also.She will repeat the process and come to think she should really be a woman.That is because Maxine,who Craig has told also,has actually gone through the portal and gone out with John in person.However Lotte was in John's mind at that time and she has fallen hard for Maxine,and Maxine has developed affections for Lotte also.Read more ›
I can't imagine John Malkovich's face when he was approached with this screenplay. I can't believe anyone in his right mind wouldn't run the other way when presented with even the most basic premise for this film. But then again, at least in the movie, Malkovich is anything but in his right mind. Heck, for most of the film, he isn't even IN his mind. Creepy, huh? Creepy doesn't even begin to cover it. But I highly recommend it. Just be warned not to drive or operate heavy machinery after seeing it.
This movie is best watched late at night. Most of the scenes are in fact shot at nighttime, adding positively to the surreal effect of the story. Cusack, Diaz, and Malkovich turn in wonderful performances. Catherine Keener is suitably hateable as the selfish Maxine.
This movie encourages you to look deep beneath the surface of a person. It is also good for some serious out-loud laughs.
Most recent customer reviews
I found this movie to be pretty strange. I liked the idea behind it, but it was not executed in a manner that really made me want to keep watching. Read morePublished on May 21 2013 by Samantha K Krewulak
This is a great release for a great film. Very worthwhile purchase for any fan of the film. Definitely recommended to all.Published on Aug. 3 2012 by Michael
thank you for fast shipping and correct product classification. I would buy from you again for sure, thank you, I will enjoy it soon.Published on Dec 16 2011 by Barbaros Remzi KARSLI
Le disque et la pochette sont très bien, sauf qu'il manque un disque à l'intérieur... c'est un SPECIAL EDITION, et ce disque manque.Published on June 1 2010 by Jennifer Dodon
Unlike the excellent follow-ups of "Adaptation" and "Eternal Sunshine," this movie lacks a human element. There is not a single likable or relatable character in the entire movie. Read morePublished on June 7 2006 by William P. Jacobs
Warning:before watching this film you should realize that this could be one of the weirdest, craziest film of all time. It kept me scratching my head. Read morePublished on April 22 2004 by newfound32