It's finally Batman vs. Superman week and the ridiculous hype (and overkill of trailers) comments on America's fascination with mindless films. Don't get me wrong, I love a good brain-killing, explosion-filled, action blockbuster (I had to contain my excitement when I saw the first Independence Day 2 trailer). However, I think movies hold the power to make you think.
To me: a good movie should make you feel uncomfortable at times. You definitely feel that within the first 15 minutes of Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich. Things get very weird and I don't just mean Tim Burton weird.
Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is a struggling puppeteer in New York City. He lives in an apartment with his wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) who owns way too many pets, including a chimp. Craig finds a job sorting files, but once he gets to the building and discovers his office is on the 7 1/2 floor, the real madness begins.
Craig soon finds a mysterious hidden portal in the office which leads directly to the head of the actor John Malkovich( Empire of the Sun, Burn After Reading, Red). A LITERAL portal that leads into the head of John Malkovich who plays a fictionalized version of himself. Here's how it works: you go inside Malkovich's head for 15 minutes before you're dropped out into a ditch at the New Jersey Turnpike.
I know what you're thinking: how can things get any crazier than that? Trust me, they do. Craig's coworker who he's kind of in love with, Maxine (Catherine Keener) discovers the portal and decides to charge people money to use the portal and "be someone else." That soon develops into a side-business for the two and things only get weirder once Craig's wife Lotte uses the portal. Lotte enjoys using the portal not just for the thrill of being in John Malkovich's head, but the chance to be a man. And that's when the real conflict begins.
I have to say throughout this movie I was unsure about whether to like it or not. The concept is certainly unique, the acting is pretty good, but it overall feels like a very trippy ride. Some existential questions definitely pop up in your head during the film's running time. It also comments on unfulfillment in life, living your life through another person, and sexuality crisis.
The film almost messes with your head and forces you to question the status quos of life. It's a movie that leaves you spending the next week trying to make sense of it. However, films like these belong in society because they challenge you to think outside the box in a world where too many people seem afraid to do so. Yes, it is confusing. Yes, it is uncomfortably weird, but try to look past your discomfort and perception of what a movie should be and I think you'll find something magically wonderful.