Review: Being John Malkovich
Blu-ray: Being John Malkovich (1999)
Now 20 years old (can you believe it?) Being John Malkovich was, and still is, a ‘one off’ kind of film. Very surreal, yet understandable. This was the first script made into a film by Charlie Kaufman, who is now seen as one of THE American writers of modern times. Directed by once pro-skateboarder Spike Jonze and actually produced by John Malkovich, this film was bound for an epic fail or glory.
It seemed that ‘Gen X’ loomed big during this time. Fight Club, American Beauty, and The Matrix were companion releases, so there was a lot of ‘what am I doing with my life’? ‘is there anymore than this’? sort of thing going on and Being John Malkovich fits in perfectly with this mindset.
Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is an unemployed puppeteer married to pet-obsessed wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz). After a lot of persuading, he gets a job for as a file clerk for LesterCorp, in the strange Floor 7 1⁄2 low-ceilinged offices of the Mertin-Flemmer Building in New York City.
Craig is a complete dick, and fancies new collegue Maxine Lund (Catherine Keener), who basically can’t stand him and takes the piss out of him. Craig then discovers and enters a small door hidden behind a filing cabinet in the office, crawls through and magically finds himself in the mind of actor John Malkovich for 15 minutes. He tells Lotte, who has a go, then decides she’s a transsexual and wants to be ‘IN’ John all the time.
He reveals the portal to Maxine, and together they charge $200 a go to others who want to be john Malkovich. Lotte is also involved and also falls in lust with Maxine. Maxine then goes out to meet Malkovich, becomes his girlfriend but will only have sex with him when… Lotte is in him. Confused? Okay well I won’t carry on and tell you rest.
There’s no doubt this is one of those films that is so very different from the norm, that you remember it. However, I have to admit I wasn’t a fan. I wasn’t bored watching it and it did hold my attention, but it just didn’t resonate with me at all, and despite its ‘classic’ status I felt rather flat after watching it and really thought the end was lazy.
MALKOVICH MALKOVICH MALKOVICH
- Restored from a 4K scan of the original camera negative and approved by director Spike Jonze
- High Definition Blu-Ray (1080p) presentation
- Original 5.1 DTS-HD master audio
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Select scene audio commentary by Jonze’s friend and competitor, the filmmaker Michel Gondry
- John Malkovich and John Hodgman, a conversation between the film’s star and the actor, writer and humourist
- Strung Along, a new featurette exploring the marionettes made for the film, featuring newly shot interviews with puppeteer Phillip Huber and puppeteer/designer/fabricators Kamela Portuges and Lee Armstrong
- The 7½ Floor, the full corporate orientation video seen in the film
- John Horatio Malkovich: Dance of Despair and Disillusionment, the full pseudo-documentary seen in the film
- An Interview with Director Spike Jonze, a brief chat with the director filmed under duress by Lance Bangs
- An Intimate Portrait of the Art of Puppeteering, an archival interview with Phillip Huber filmed on set by Lance Bangs
- An Intimate Portrait of the Art of Background Driving, an on-set look at filming the New Jersey Turnpike sequence by Lance Bangs
- Don’t Enter Here, There Is Nothing Here
- Theatrical trailer and TV spots
- Image gallery
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Vero Navarro
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Roger Keen and archive publicity materials.
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