Adaptation. Review
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Fact, Fiction, Imagination
3 out of 4 stars


About thirty minutes into this film, I was wondering if I was seeing the biggest bomb about writer's block since Barton Fink. Then it hit me. Everything in the movie was symbolic for something else. I just wasn't getting it. What this movie does is work on two scales:
  1. What you see is what you get (the no-brainer) and
  2. The intellectual story where you schizophrenically get so into everything about this movie until it twists your brain.

If you choose to look at the second way to view this, which I recommend, you need to remember that nothing in this movie is real. Well, Charlie Kaufman (played by Nicolas Cage) the screenwriter (Being John Malkovich) is real. In the movie, his job is to write the screenplay for the book, The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. Itís something that he can't seem to get a finger on, and he attempts many different approaches. He battles to keep the screenplay true to the book -- but he can't succeed without the help of his evil twin brother (also played by Cage). The counter twin also shows lots of symbolism. As a last resort, he sticks himself in the middle of the screenplay, which still doesn't solve the problem until his daffy brother writes his own screenplay after attending a screenwriting workshop run by Robert McKee. (McKee actually runs this in real life, and Kaufman has stated a very negative view of it.) It isn't until the movie-Kaufman attends a McKee workshop that he uses all the recommended wrap-up endings (car chase, shootings, etc.) The movie sums up rather humorously -- probably to the chagrin of Orlean herself (notably quoted as displeased with the project), as she is portrayed in a way that helps Kaufman end his project -- fast, easy, sex, drugs, car chases, violence. Somehow it works.

  
 
Now, if you think this is confusing, go see the movie -- if you want to think. If you don't want to think, see the movie and view it on the surface only, which is still entertaining.

Additional Warning: If you've been involved in a traffic accident there are two depicted in this film in a very realistic way.

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