Being John Malkovich

Vanessa Forsythe reviews

Being John Malkovich


  • Cert: R
  • 0518
  • Running time: 113 minutes
  • Year: 1999
  • Pressing: 2000
  • Region(s): 1, NTSC
  • Chapters: 32 plus extras
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
  • Languages: English
  • Subtitles: English (and hard of hearing), French, Spanish
  • Widescreen: 1.85:1
  • 16:9-Enhanced: Yes
  • Macrovision: Yes
  • Disc Format: DVD 9
  • Price: $39.98
  • Extras : Scene index, Theatrical Trailer; TV Spots; 7th Floor Orientation;American Arts & Culture Presents… John Horatio Malkovich, Dance of Despairand Disillusionment; A Page with nothing on it; An Intimate Portrait of the Artof Puppeteering; An Interview with Director Spike Jonze; An IntimatePortrait of the Art of Background Driving; Cast & Crew Biographies &Filmographies; Spike’s Photo Album.


      Spike Jonze


      Craig Schwartz: John Cusack (Grosse Point Blank, Con Air)
      Lotte Schwartz: Cameron Diaz (The Mask, A Life less Ordinary)
      Maxine: Catherine Keener (Your Friends & Neighbours, Out of Sight)
      John Horatio Malkovich: John Malkovich (Dangerous Liaisons, Con Air)
      Dr Lester: Orson Bean (Innerspace)
      Floris: Mary Kay Place (Pecker, The Rainmaker)

Anyone seeingthe video Spike Jonze (Conrad inThree Kings)directed for “Praise You” by Fatboy Slim, might well expect his firstfeature to be a suitably strange affair. And indeed, they would be right. One can only imagine the look on John Malkovich‘s face when he waspresented with the script!

One of the most imaginative and funny films of the year so far, Being JohnMalkovich centres on Craig Schwartz (Cusack), an unemployed but verytalented puppeteer and his wife, Lotte (Diaz) a pet shop owner, who seems tobring home most of the residents of her shop.

Lotte persuades Craig to get a job, which he duly does at Lestercorp, acompany located on Floor 7 of its building (a gag which really has to be seen).There, Craig meets Maxine (Keener) and falls instantly in lust with theenigmatic beauty. One day he drops some files behind a cabinet and discoversa mysterious door leading into a dark tunnel. When he crawls in he issuddenly transported into John Malkovich’s head. He can see out of his eyes…he is being John Malkovich.

After 15 mins he is spat out on to the Jersey Turnpike. He tells Maxineand she proposes they set up a business selling trips through the portal. Soon,Lotte is taking trips inside Malkovich’s head, as is half the city. Then,Malkovich himself gets wind of the venture…

To say anymore would really spoil this wonderfully inventive and darklycomic tale. Suffice to say, this is one film you will be discussing longafter the end credits have disappeared. Recommended if you like something abit out of the ordinary.

Extras:Very good extras, infused with the same sense of the bizarre as the film. APage With Nothing On It does exactly what it says on the tin, unless it’s asecret portal itself!! (If anyone finds any hidden features, please let meknow!)

The only criticism that I would have is that there is no commentary by thedirector, but then maybe its best not to explain too much and leave it all upto us to make of it what we will.


Review copyright © Vanessa Forsythe, 2000.E-mail Vanessa Forsythe

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