Being John Malkovich

” Meet you in Malkovich in one hour”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Being John Malkovich answers the question, what would it be like to be someone else? What would it be like to see through someone elses eyes? I wonder what John Malkovich’s thighs look like In the shower?

Directed by the ever incredible Spike Jonze and written by the equally fantastic Charlie Kaufman, we are greeted with a puppet show. A very well performed puppet show by puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack), an aspiring performer looking to make his big break in the puppeteering world by busting on the streets. As Craig reluctantly starts his new filing job, he discovers a small, boarded up door behind a filing cabinet. As he investigates beyond the door, he discovers that this door is in fact a portal directly to the head of actor John Malkovich (John Malkovich). The overwhelming sensation of being in someone else’s body sparks emotions that Craig has never felt before.


‘Being john Malkovich’. Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich. How can I describe this film other than using the word Malkovich? Easily is the answer. This film insanely original and Infinitely creative, I wouldn’t expect anything other than this when two great minds are put together. Since falling in love with Spike Jonze’s film ‘Her’ (a film I feel is THE most perfect film ever made), I’ve been making my way through all his work and I would consider him and genius, especially after the fatboy slim music video, ‘Weapon of choice’, with Christopher Walken, a music video that everyone knows and everyone loves. Seeing that he directed this film made me want to watch it even more but when I found out that charlie Kaufman wrote it too I was sold. Being the writer for both ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind’ and ‘Anomalisa’, two insanely original films, I’ve made a space in my heart for him as well. The TWO of them combining their genius is a dream come true. They are both a tour de force with this film as it’s just insanely different and also incredibly funny as well. Both of these two are very skilled in being able to mixed perfectly timed humour into theirs scripts, and to top it off, humour that’s actually funny. This is the first film in a long time where I was consistently laughing out loud the whole way through and it was a real joy to watch.

From the initial description I’ve done for this review I feel it’s safe to assume that you’ve guessed that this film is a very surreal film and you’d be 100% correct. So as mentioned, our protagonist starts his new filing job due to his fast and nimble hands from being a puppeteer. Although he’s a very skilled puppeteer, it not enough for him to provide for both himself and his wife, Lotte (Cameron Diaz), a vet/pet store owner, I’m not sure which it is but it’s one of them because they have an assortment of animals living in their apartment. It’s like snow white just sang and all the creatures have come to clean the apartment. This new Job takes place on floor 7 1/2 of a building complex. The floors ceilings are half the height of a normal ceiling and it was from this moment that you can tell the film is gonna venture into odd but incredible areas. When Craig discovers this portal, he crawls inside this door and can see through John Malkovich’s eyes for 15 minutes, then he gets flung out the portal half way across the city on the side of the road. He tells his alluring colleague, Maxine (Catherine Keener) about this portal to which she has the idea to make it into an attraction where people across the city and participate in being John Malkovich for 15 minutes. Just the whole experience is hilarious and this continues for the duration of the film. It’s hard to say much without spoiling the film as this is one of those films that needs to be experienced and believe me, you need to experience this. Admittedly I would say that I know this film wouldn’t be for everyone, it teeters on a fine line in the middle of people who think it’s too bizarre that’s it’s just stupid, or the people who watch it and think it’s just one of the best nonsense films ever made.


Being called ‘Being John Malkovich’ obviously would suggest that John Malkovich is in it and spoilers, he is. John is definitely the standout performance in this film. John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and the other one and all great for their parts. Cusack plays the struggling puppeteer, Diaz with the unloved Animal lover and Keener with the seductive, minx like performance, all of them are great but Malkovich makes it. His comedic timing in this film, matched with the stunning script, packs a massive punch with some scenes Including him had me rewinding it so I can laugh at it all over again. This goes for the whole film really, the whole film is just wonderfully balanced between great writing and great performances.

Overall this is just an intensely imaginative film that has instantly shot it’s way up to being one of my favourite films. Its films like that that need to be more appreciated by the general audience because its films like this that are just so far from anything else out there that people need to travel to hilarious places. The whole journey of self discovery will hit home with a lot of people I feel. I also at the same time wouldn’t call it a perfect film although it’s close. Nothing that I could say in particular but i just felt some parts of the film felt a bit loose compared to the rest of the film, I couldn’t put it down specially to the acting at moments or what was happening but everyone and then it very minimally didn’t feel as tightly packed as the rest of the film. Maybe because sometimes the way it was shot was a bit generic so compared most of the film, maybe that was it but it doesn’t distract too much from being unbelievably great. Be John Malkovich.

9 Monkey Nam Flashbacks out of 10

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