“Being John Malkovich” is the existential totem of originality that reigns from the majestic year of 1999. The film was directed by Spike Jonze, the same guy that directed “Her”, and is a comedy-drama starring big names like John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, and, of course, John Malkovich. Previously, Spike Jonze had only ever really filmed or directed videos for a skateboard label and music videos here and there, but this film, combined with the clever work of Charlie Kaufman as the novice writer, shines above any film I have ever seen in high-quality originality.
The premise of the movie is that Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is a Manhattan street puppeteer who is married to pet store clerk Lotte Schwartz (Cameron Diaz)Their marriage falls apart and Craig is forced to take a job as file clerk for LesterCorp on the 7½ floor, which is only 5 feet tall floor-to-ceiling. When Craig accidentally drops a file behind one of his cabinets, he is forced to move the cabinet away from the wall and exposes a tiny door no more than a foot and a half tall and wide. This door, he soon discovers opens up to a small 15-foot-long muddy tunnel that slides right into the mind of John Malkovich himself, although it takes him a short while to figure out whose mind it is. Then after about 15 minutes, whoever is in Malkovich’s mind is tossed out of thin air into a ditch next to the New Jersey Turnpike. Craig soon lets his comely coworker, Maxine Lund, in on his portal predicament, but only because he has a bit of a crush on her. He also shows his wife, Lotte, and allows her to go through the portal, which evokes a very aggressive feeling of confidence and self-reevaluation. Once Maxine sees Craig’s wife’s reaction to experiencing John Malkovich at such a personal level, she explodes with ideas on how to turn that little door into a money making machine and they soon start charging a line full of people $200 a visit into the mind of John Horatio Malkovich.
Now you may be asking yourself many questions about this plot such as: What is the experience like for each individual? Does John Malkovich know this is going on? What does the fact that Craig is a puppeteer have to do with the portal? What if Malkovich goes through the portal? Are there more portals for different people? And why does this portal even exist in the first place? All of those are excellent questions (congratulations on asking such astute questions, reader) and all of those questions and more will be answered, but you have to watch the movie to find out and that is what makes this movie a masterpiece. This movie encompasses complete originality that is not seen in hardly any modern film these days, plus a story that answers any question the viewer will pose with stunning understandability and perfect timing.
This is a movie that I can tell you to see enough, I cannot guarantee that you will enjoy it, or even that it will entertain you, but if you have read up to this point you will more than likely love this movie and with my less-than-professional opinion state that you, no matter who you are, must see this movie.