Sunday, February 10, 2008

Being John Malkovich

This, as everyone else has pointed out thisfar, is an extremely strange film. The director, Spike Jonze, was known before this film exclusively for his work directing unique and hilarious music videos including The Beasty Boys video for "Sabatoge." The writer, Charlie Kaufman, is best known for writing films such as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "Adaptation." Based on these two men being the leaders of the making of this film, we should expect such strange things as the world of Malkoviches scene and the Elijah's childhood scene. In the beginning of the film, we see John Cusack's character Craig at work performing with his puppets. This scene gives us a feeling that Craig is in control and the puppet master references obviously reinforce that. However, once that scene ends, we see that Craig is only clinging to his identity as a puppet master by a thread and will look for any way possible to change that. We first see his wife, Lotte, forcing him to get a job because his career as a puppeteer is not working out in the least bit. After finding out the portal to John's mind, Cusack tells his co-worker Maxine about it and she uses him to turn it into a business. Then, Cusack completely takes over Malkovich's body when he has the chance, seemingly fulfilling his dream of being completely in charge of something or someone. But we find that this is not what happens when he is tricked into leaving Malkovich's body, proving that he is not completely in control. This creates a very interesting puppet/puppetmaster dichotomy that works throughout almost the entire movie. At the very end, though, we see that he is inside the mind of the new vessel, the daughter of his wife and Maxine. This throws a wrench into the system that the movie builds, and gives the sort of twist ending that Hollywood loves so much to give us.

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