The puppeteer takes a job 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 co-worker (Catherine Keener), Cusack's dowdy wife (a barely recognisable Cameron Diaz), and a business scheme to capitalise 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, playing 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
How much did they have to pay John Malkovich to do this? More interestingly, how much did they have to pay him to get into that jumper at the end?
A superb film which sustained the humour and fantasy introduced with the first few scenes and the 7 1/2th floor. Just when you think something more bizarre couldn't happen, it does, yet there is a logical coherency in it and very few (if any) dead ends which were rendered incomprehensible by bad editing, as happens so often when a character is introduced only to be chopped out later on when the director realises that they don't quite cut the mustard.
The sex scenes are the best and most erotic I've seen in a long time, particularly with the inbuilt ambiguity.
Malkovich, as a celebrity sophisticate, is also the supreme choice for those who wish to inhabit his body too, though more on that theme would be a spoiler. "Being Keanu Reeves" wouldn't be quite the same.
The DVD is interesting in other ways, with the viewer never quite sure whether one is watching an advert for the film - or instead is actually still in the film. I can't give anything away without leaking a spoiler, but that "TV spot" is interesting and the interview with director Spike Jonze - on his first major motion picture, no less - is as curious as discovering a portal into the brain of an actor on a mezzanine floor in an old office block.
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