• James Rutherford

'Being John Malkovich': An Outlandish and Wonderfully Transgressive Dark Comedy-Fantasy


Movie poster for the film Being John Malkovich starring John Malkovich and John Cusack

“Being John Malkovich” (1999) is a wildly unconventional and wonderfully transgressive dark comedy-fantasy starring John Cusack as Craig Schwartz, an unemployed puppeteer who inadvertently stumbles upon a porthole leading into the mind of actor John Malkovich. Gaining temporary employment as a filing clerk for the cryptic LesterCorp, Craig discovers a small hidden door on the premises that connects directly into the very consciousness of Malkovich. Allowing for 15 minutes of occupancy before ejecting visitors onto the New Jersey Turnpike, the famed thespian’s mind soon draws the interest of not only Schwartz’s co-worker Maxine (Catherine Keener) but his flighty wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) as well. Their dual incursion serves as the prelude to a wildly sordid love triangle, with authority over Malkovich at the heart of their oddly entangled conflict. Written by Charlie Kaufman (“Adaptation”, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) and directed by Spike Jonze (“Where the Wild Things Are”, “Her”), “Being John Malkovich” is an extraordinarily innovative conception that wholeheartedly, unapologetically embraces its own outlandish absurdity. Flawless, enormously amusing and surprisingly thought-provoking, it’s a true classic of late-20th century cinema.

 

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