All Things Malkovich
And the film works. I know it sounds crazy, but that is essentially why this film is so alluring. An entire film built around seeing the world through the eyes of one of America's great current character actors - John Malkovich - and it works due to the outstanding story / screenplay by thrice Oscar nominated / once Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman ( Kaufman was nominated for this film and won for "The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" ). His screenplay uses the essentric life of Actor Malkovich as the staging platform to launch his story of an evolving love triangle that is as humorous as it is interesting. The acting is also first rate, and Director Spike Jonze keeps the pace brisk and the gems of Kaufman's screenplay uncovered.
Craig Schwartz, portrayed by a straggly haired John Cusack, is a foundering puppeteer, who takes a job as a filing clerk at LesterCorp on the 7 1/2 floor (the ceiling is less than 5 feet high and no one is a dwarf and everyone walks humped over). While working in the deep storage room, Craig finds a doorway behind a file cabinet that is portal to the frontal lobe of John Malkovich. Seriously: one opens the diminutive door, and while humped over enters, and then slides down a gooey chute into the mind of Malkovich. Upon entering, the invasive party has a full view of the world through the great actor's eyes for about 15 minutes, and then they are expelled, and miraculously land along the New Jersey Turnpike just outside "The Big Apple."
Craig is enlightened by his discovery and tells two people of its promise. His wife, Lotte Schwartz played by Cameron Diaz, and his new infatuation / office coworker, Maxine Lund played by Catherine Keener become co-conspirators in the possession of the unsuspecting host, John Malkovich. As partners in possession, the three conspirators inadvertently find themselves in a love triangle that can only be consummated through Malkovich. What may appear bizarre to some, I find gonzo funny, and if it were not for the smart script and the taunt acting, it would not work.
The film is a bona fide classic in telling a compelling tale of unrequited love and disembodiment of self, and depending upon your acceptance of the suspension disbelief, there are rich nuggets of humor therein this paradox. This film should sustain the ability to keep your attention for all of its 112 minutes of runtime, and if you're like me, you'll find the time for multiple subsequent viewings.
Rated R. Released on DVD May 2, 2000.