"Thus open the gates of paradise."

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Being John Malkovich

06 Apr 2002

Catherine Keener and John
Cusack on the set

This is by far the oddest film I've seen all month. Maybe all season. John Cusack plays a filing clerk who discovers a portal -- a tunnel though which you can see the world through actor John Malkovich's eyes. And a pretty odd world it is, too. A world where puppetry is a widely acknowledged art form. Where office buildings have half-height floors.

The best thing about the story is that you really haven't heard it told this way before. In every scene there's some intriguing detail that colours the tale, some interesting bit of filigree. It's to your average mainstream film what an Edvard Munch painting is to a "Nancy" comic strip. It's like finding out there is such a thing as roast beef and mustard flavoured potato chips. Or that a staid, boring uncle worked for MI5 during the war.

The only word of criticism I have is that the movie's trailer used the title music from "Brazil", and it doesn't actually appear in the film. In this case, it's not such an evil thin -- if you liked "Brazil", you'll probably appreciate "Being John Malkovich" too.

Related Sites

J.M. Incorporated
Being John Malkovich (Official Site)
Being John Malkovich (IMDB)
Some paintings by Edvard Munch
Today's "Nancy" comic strip