Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Review: Being John Malkovich

I can't believe I haven't seen…

Being John Malkovich Poster

Being John Malkovich (1999)
Cert: 15 / 108 mins / Dir. Spike Jonze / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7

Okay, let's get this cinematic train back on its track. Spike Jonze's 1999 fantasy flick is a one which slipped under my radar at the time (I was a little preoccupied with Star Wars that year), and has come up in conversation since, but only as a recommendation-with-caveats.

Off-beat, but rarely off-puttingly so, Being John Malkovich is on uneasy-street from the word go, taking a full half-hour before the title-star is even mentioned upon the discovery of a plot-device portal into his psyche. Under the normal run of things this alone would annoy me, but Jonez's world-building is a wonder to watch in the meanwhile, like trying to recall a fever-dream while you're still in the fever.

Cameron Diaz and John Cusack are fantastic leads, which makes you wonder why the rest of their careers are so monumentally bland*1. John Malkovich and Catherine Keener are great as usual, of course. Props also go to Orson Bean being quietly brilliant as Dr Lester.

Jonez's direction is the perfect fit for Charlie Kaufman's writing (although cinematographer Lance Acord could do with turning the lights up a little), and the whole concept - one which could easily have slipped into an unaware parody black-hole with a different headliner - comes together so neatly; almost as if it isn't one of the weirdest films you'll ever see.

It's just a shame that ending is so heavily telegraphed. ;)

Have you really never seen this before?
Really, never.

So are you glad you've finally have?
I am, indeed.

And would you recommend it, now?
Yes. But with caveats.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I heard.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Cameron Diaz played Natalie in the movie-incarnations of Charlie's Angels, the first of which also starred Mr Tim Curry, perhaps most famously known (obviously) for his role as the voice of Palpatine/Sidious in the later episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Don't get me wrong, I don't actively dislike either, but their choice of roles is often dreadful.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

No comments:

Post a Comment