Adaptation

Dan Goldwasser Movie Reviews

Just got back from seeing Adaptation with Tony at The Bridge. Wow. If you haven’t seen Being John Malkovich, then I strongly recommend it. This film takes place during the filming of that film, and is an incredibly witty and humorous look at screenwriter Charlie Kaufman‘s attempt to adapt the novel The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. It’s self-referential, non-linear, and does an excellent job making fun of the film industry. Nicholas Cage does an amazing job playing both Charlie and his twin brother Donald, and Meryl Streep plays Orlean. About 2/3rds of the way through the film, I started to question the accuracy of what happened – for the most part, though, this seemed like it was non-fiction. But did Orlean really try to do what she does to the Kaufman Brothers at the end, there? If not, doesn’t it open it up to some sort of slander or libel? It really makes you think. Not to mention – Donald Kaufman doesn’t really exist – so how did he get a co-screenwriter credit on the film? Where was the WGA? Obviously the screen version of Kaufman (a depressed bachelor living with his brother) isn’t accurate to events (the real Kaufman is married with children), but it certainly makes you question what is based on reality, and what isn’t.

Director Spike Jonze did an excellent job, and Carter Burwell‘s score is a rather standard but effective one (it’s clearly a “Burwell score” just by hearing a few seconds of it). The visual effects (required to allow Cage to play both roles in the film) was amazingly well-done. The interaction between the two actors, combined with the fluid and occasionally shaky camerawork, completely sold the idea that there were two different actors on screen. I also loved the Being John Malkovich segments – the fact that they rebuilt the set, and got John Cusak and Catherine Keener to come back was just so incredibly cool. I can’t recommend this movie enough – go see it – go see it now! And then go see it again.