Spike Jonze directs John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener in this surreal satire where a puppeteer takes an office job only to discover a portal into Hollywood character actor John Malkovich’s head behind his filing cabinet.
More Charlie Kaufman. A movie that sits better in the memory a few days afterwards than while you are actually watching it. The unrestrained nuttiness of it all churns up some brilliant ideas and moments. Abelard + Héloïse through marionettes. The 7 and a 1⁄2 floor. “Shall we to the boudoir?” The chimp’s flashback. Malkovich in Malkovich. As a whole though, this is pretty bleak and abrasive stuff. Admirable in that it is never happy in itself, constantly moving to the next trap like shark seeking a new cage. Keener and Malkovich are excellent here. He is game in a way that feels like a coup even two decades later. Groundbreaking but not easy to love in actuality.
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