Sunday, February 10, 2008

Being John Malkovich/Foucault Comparison

Well, this was certainly a very bizarre and unusual film to view. Reading Foucault’s piece afterwards did, however, put the whole idea of the Malkovich head concept into better view. Foucault defines the Panopticon as the opposite of a dungeon, “a mechanism that reverses it’s three functions-the enclose, to deprive of light and to hide-it preserves only the first and eliminates the other two…a place induces in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power…and it does not matter who exercises power. Any individual, taken almost at random, can operate the machine…it does not matter what motive animates him: the curiosity or the thirst for knowledge” (Foucault 227-229). This passage sums up in general what Malkovich served as in the film. Both John Cusack and Cameron Diaz’s characters found separate, yet similar ways to operate John Malkovich to their own ends, both encountering life changing epiphanies. And not only them, but the other few hundred people who entered the portal all came out changed people, changed for the better. However, as the old saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” The film clearly illustrated something Foucault alluded to by the people inhabiting the Panopticon becoming power hungry and addicted to it. Such is what eventually became of John Cusack, as he ended up thirsty for the fame and love he could never have as himself. All of which resulted in one of the creepiest film endings ever.

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