11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Being Caden Cotard,
This review is from: Synecdoche, New York [DVD]  (DVD)
Kaufman's first movie as both writer and director is full of his trademark strangeness. It's also darkly funny -- sometimes hilariously so -- at times deeply moving, and occasionally quite depressing. After a fairly conventional start the movie gradually creeps into the bizarre as the main protagonist's life becomes entwined with his magnus opus: a monumentally-scaled play reflecting his own life. Caden Cotard battles against mysterious ill-health, desertion by his wife and daughter, his inability to form stable relationships, and the sprawling, leviathan that is his play. As his 1:1 recreation of his world becomes his world, and the decades pass without the play passing the rehearsal stage, Cotard is absorbed, and yet sidelined, by his own creation. Until death finally conjoins (or maybe separates) the man and his work. Kaufman seems to be trying to address many basic human themes. Sometimes he succeeds and sometimes he doesn't, but it's alway fascinating to watch him try. Philip Seymour Hoffman, as Cotard, is mesmerising, and is supported by an equally impressive cast. It certainly won't be to everyone's taste, but if you like thought-provoking, off-the-wall cinema this is a must-see.