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Surprising, Surreal - The ULTIMATE Introspection

  • May 12, 2000
  • by
Pros: Unique, challenging

Cons: Really really strange, adult situations

My mouth was hanging open with astonishment. I said "Oh my God," probably fifty times. It has been a long time since a movie flat slapped me stupid and got my attention in such a major way.

I've heard that there's nothing new under the sun, but I'd like to know the historical precedents that pertain to Being John Malkovich.

The story is about an underemployed puppeteer, played by John Cusack. I can easily imagine that such a profession would suffer spells of feast or famine. As he looks through the want ads, there are indeed no listings for puppeteer.

Cusack does find a job for a person with good hands and discovers in his office on the 7 1/2 floor an odd little door which turns out to be a portal to another world--the world inside John Malkovich. Cusack is virtually sucked down a tube into the consciousness of the well known actor. He sees through the actor's eyes, experiences his life--for fifteen minutes. He's then ejected from space onto the side of the New Jersey Turnpike.

I did not even recognize Cameron Diaz for a good while into the movie. She played Cusack's wife who goes through the portal and becomes practically addicted to the experience. Add in Maxine, one of Cusack's co workers and the characters become intertwined in ways that are difficult to imagine. Poor John Malkovich becomes a pawn to their experiences.

If the story was not already twisted enough, another dimension is added with another group of characters who plan to live forever using Malkovich as their vessel.

The story is convoluted. A plus B seems to equal 42. The acting is magnificent. Cusack is suitably demented. Diaz turns in an amazing performance with a wide range of expression. Malkovich as always is amazing. He really is a major talent of our time. My favorite part was when he did the puppet's dance while being inhabited by Cusack. He shows us a little of what it is like to be himself and respond to the many people who say, "Hey! Aren't you...."

The film has some very pretty moments. The actual puppeteer employed in this film is surely a master. The scenes with puppets are strangely compelling. This film is masterfully edited. I could see no errors, no lags, nothing that could have been done better.

This has to be about the WEIRDEST movie I've ever seen. Will I watch it again? Yes, I plan to purchase it. Do I like it? No and yes. It's really kind of creepy, but still so unique that I'm sure it bears watching many times. This film is NOT for everyone. If you are seeking a surreal experience that will make you say "WHAT???" then I'd check this out!


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More Being John Malkovich reviews
review by . June 11, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Original, brilliant and funny without shamelessly plugging the main idea     Cons: The view through John's eyes     The Bottom Line: Is there anybody in there?     I would like nothing more than to meet the executive who greenlighted Being John Malkovich. I would like to walk up to him, shake his hand and compliment him for having the guts to even consider greenlighting some wierd fantasy that no other executive would have gone near …
review by . January 18, 2000
Pros: Cameron Diaz, John Cusak     Cons: Not for "regular folks", must be slightly demented to enjoy     Hmmm.... on the way back from seeing this jaw dropper of a film, no one in the car could think of anything to say. No kidding, we all drove back to the house in total silence. That's how I feel about this film.      It's bizarre, introspective, hysterically funny, icky, and wonderful all rolled up into one. There is really …
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