Being John Malkovich looks at the world through the eyes of another person

Being John Malkovich addresses this issue in a comical and off beat manner

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to see the world through the eyes of another person? To walk in another’s shoes? Being John Malkovich addresses this issue in a comical and off beat manner.

Craig (John Cusack) is a puppeteer that can’t seem to make it in his craft. His shows are very realistic even to the point of his always getting beaten up by people in the street when he puts on shows for spare change.

His plain wife (Cameron Diaz) works in a pet store and has a menagerie in their basement apartment. Craig, desperate to earn some money takes a job as a file clerk in the strangest office ever imagined.

It is on the 7-½ floor of an office building. The ceiling is only five feet from the floor and every one must walk around stooped over. His boss (Orson Bean) is a dirty old man that wanders around the office looking for someone to tell his ribald stories to. Craig finds himself falling in love with a co-worker, Maxine (Catherine Keener).

Craig is willing to risk his marriage to Lottie but Maxine will have nothing to do with him until he finds a tiny door in on storage room. The room leads to a tunnel that allows the person in to actually be John Malkovich for 15 minutes. After that the person is dumped from the sky on to the New Jersey Turnpike.

Maxine sees this as a chance to make big money and soon Craig and Max are selling Malkovtich head-trips. Along the way Lottie takes the ride and decides that she wants to become a man. She also falls in love with Maxine but Maxine will have nothing to do with her unless Lottie is in Malkovich. This film is as wild a ride as those that enter Malkovich’s head.

The cast in Being John Malkovich is incredible. Cusack is fantastic as the milk toast puppeteer. He drifts through each scene in a manner befitting the down trodden Craig. Diaz is almost unrecognizable as the dowdy Lottie.

She looks like she put on a few pounds, has messy, mousey brown hair. For an actress known for her glamour roles this was some step for Diaz. It also gives proof positive that she can do more than look good, she can act.

The real show stopper of Being John Malkovich is Keener. She plays Max as the aloof, nasty people that is beautiful and knows it. She looks down on everyone else even though she also works in the same little half height office.

The real hit of Being John Malkovich is Malkovich himself. Rarely can a man so publicly laugh at himself. He commands the scene as he has with every performance I have ever seen him in.

In one scene that shows his subconscious they poke fun at Malkovich for wetting his paints on a school bus and for being the victim of every bully in school. He dares to hold himself up to such laughs and still can laugh with us.

Director Spike Jonez keeps the pace of Being John Malkovich moving right from the start. Jonze plays up the laughs but not at the expense of an interesting story, a bizarre set up and the weirdest four sided love triangle every filmed. Jonze controls every little detail of this film to the betterment of all.

The Being John Malkovich disc is a step above most current DVDs. The extras are plentiful. There is the orientation film for the 7 ½ floor, the Malkovich puppet piece, the Dance of Despair, a look at the art of puppeteering, and interview with director Spike Jonze and a photo album. The sound is so realistic you would think you were in the film. The video transfer a professional anamorphic 1:1.85. This may have been overlooked in the 1999 Oscars but it should not be over looked by you.

Review by Doug MacLean of

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