Being John Malkovich

Truth is for suckers, Johnny Boy.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * * )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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Being John Malkovich is easily one of the most creative movies of all time. Most every detail is perfect and every twist in the already twisted story is masterfully done. It is as close to abstract impressionist as I have ever seen in a movie, with the wonderfully implemented story and masterful direction by Spike Jonze. Frankly, I have no idea how it got produced. I can't imagine any writer walking into a Hollywood suit's office and laying this one out. I can't imagine the suit saying "sure, sounds great. Here is a bag of money" but here it is. This movie takes John Cusack out of the pending banned box (he always seemed to be the generic actor, no matter what the role) with his role as the down and out puppeteer who turns from a weak willed starving artist into a monster. The role of the normally drop-dead-sexy Cameron Diaz into the somewhat scuzzy looking one person animal shelter heroine is no more radical. Every role in the film is played out perfectly and there are a lot of them. The other thing that builds up the movie so well is the astute attention to detail no matter how obscure. The chimp with the repressed childhood disorder, the carrot juice drinking boss and even the drive by beer canning of Malkovich on the side of the road after a JM portal trip. All put together a wonderful story, that is nothing short of a masterpiece. The DVD is a wonderful capture of the film, with a 1.85 to 1 16x9 enhanced transfer and a nice full Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The DVD includes a featurette and a couple complete versions of short TV spots that appear in the movie. A movie as creative as this really begs for a directors commentary though. Being John Malkovich is a truly wonderful and unique tale, definitely don't miss this one.