Being John Malkovich
writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze have concocted a wacky story about Kaufman himself not being able to adapt Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief
into a movie. This nearly insane mesh of fact and fiction stars Nicolas Cage as both the angst-devoured, occasionally masturbating Kaufman and his fictional twin brother; Meryl Streep as author Orlean; and Chris Cooper in a scene-stealing performance as the seedy, rapturously wily, toothless orchid collector and bandit that captures Orlean’s professional and romantic interest. This mock autobiography of sorts includes murder, an Everglades chase and the evolution of man and has all the starts and stops and all the sense of discovery and desperation of a surreal, convoluted maze adventure. Some parts of the film are classic subversions of Hollywood convention that are intriguing by themselves but don’t quite gel as a whole.