Being John Malkovich Review
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This is a difficult film to review, not because I don't have an opinion on it (I do, it's brilliant), but because it's very difficult to explain what it's about. I'm always up for a challenge though, so here we go.

Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is a puppeteer who's forced to busk in order to make ends meet. After one of his performances is misinterpreted by an aggrieved parent, who punches him in the mouth, Craig decides it's time to get a “proper” job. He finds employment as a filing clerk on floor number seven and a half (which is only accessed by jamming a crow bar in the elevator door) in a downtown office block. Here he meets Maxine (Catherine Keener), an icy, self-centred woman who says what she thinks. Whilst filing one day, Craig finds a secret door in his office. Behind it is a tunnel, a portal into John Malkovich's mind. The experience only lasts fifteen minutes, after which Craig is dumped out on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike. With Maxine's help, he starts selling access to the portal for $200 a go.

Things go from weird to more weird, especially when Malkovich goes through the portal and enters himself. The ménage à quatre between Craig, Maxine, Lotte (Cameron Diaz) and Malkovich, via the portal, is also a little strange. And the chase scene at the end involving the two women is a real surprise.

There's so much more to this film than what I've managed to outline here—it's the sort of movie that has to be seen to be believed. All the main players turn in top-notch performances. John Cusack is just as good as he was in Grosse Pointe Blank, and Catherine Keener is excellent (why isn't she in more films?). Malkovich is brilliant, both playing his normal self and the self that’s occupied by the people who go through the portal. Cameron Diaz, who plays Craig's wife, Lotte, doesn't quite carry off her role as well as everyone else, but such a good film can't be tarnished by one weak performance.

When the movie came out, people said it posed all sorts of philosophical questions about the nature of celebrity and personal identity. I didn't really see any of that. To me, this film is a quirky, funny, offbeat treat, of the sort that doesn't come along very often, but when it does you can't help liking it.

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