Being John Malkovich – A Review

You either love him or hate him. I really doubt if anyone has a middle of the road opinion of him. He is undeniably an actor to be reckoned with, and the work he did on stage with Gary Sinise even further adds to his credibility (if you can find it on video, the production they did of True West is bone-chilling).

But come on. Regardless of how you feel, you would pay $200 to see the world from his point-of-view for fifteen minutes, wouldn’t you? Be honest, and realize just how compelling the idea is.

I won’t go into the actual storyline (though it is very good, with all the clutching intensity of a good Twilight Zone episode), because you need to be able to step into this movie and let it take you to all the various destinations along its route. It is simultaneously hilarious, haunting, intelligent and touching.

John Cusack turns in an exceptional performance as a puppeteer in dire need of an understanding audience, or perhaps a more challenging puppet. Cameron Diaz is wonderfully unrecognizable, and submerges her standard BlondeGirl persona beneath a very believable portrayal of a rejected wife on the verge of rebirth. And Mr Malkovich himself, well…

I will be honest here. I have always admired Malkovich, but I have also believed that he was probably quite a bastardly fellow in person. And perhaps he is, but anyone who can so heartilly embrace as act of self-parody with the gusto and fun he presents cannot be all bad. This movie would have sent other actors screaming off the set in terror. There would never have been a “Being Leonardo DiCaprio” or a “Being Val Kilmer.” Maybe a “Being Brad Pitt” – but that is just because of the stellar psycho-performance he turned in for Fight Club.

This movie is not for the limited in imagination. It will test the limits of how far you will let a movie take you in, but it is worth the trip. And the best thing is that you can go right back out to your car at the end, instead of being tossed head first onto the side of the Jersey Turnpike….

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