Monday, July 14, 2014

Movie of the Week – Adaptation.

This week’s movie: Adaptation. (2002)

Acclaimed screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is hired to adapt the novel The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. The trouble is – he is having a very difficult time finding the story he wants to tell. He begins to snoop into the life of the book’s author for clues only to find himself pulled into a whole ordeal. And, the make matters worse, his nincompoop brother, Donald, has decided to write a terrible screenplay on a whim, but seems to be receiving praise from everyone around him, making Charlie’s stress and frustration with his own failings all the more unbearable.

The director-writer team of Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman earned a ton of praise for their film Being John Malkovich, leading expectations to be incredibly high for Adaptation. Jonze brings his group of collaborators back with him again, including: composer Carter Burwell, cinematographer Lance Acord, and production designer K.K. Barrett.

The cast is fantastic, starring Nicolas Cage as Charlie and Donald Kaufman (giving maybe his best performance of his career – perfectly tapping into his own madness in a very positive and beneficial way). Tilda Swinton, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper (who won an Oscar for his work), Jim Beaver, Cara Seymour, Judy Greer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ron Livingston, and Brian Cox feature in support.

The film is insane. Being John Malkovich is very ambitious and different (as are Kaufman’s other projects Human Nature, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Synecdoche, New York), but Adaptation. is insane. Just watch the film – but continue reading if you do not mind some spoilers. Kaufman sets out to actually adapt Orlean’s book about orchids, but ends up writing himself into the story along with his fictional brother (a brother that the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences also nominated for best writing). Kaufman also turns the film into some kind of crazy thriller, filled with sex and drugs. It is a book about flowers that becomes an over the top Hollywood action film (of sorts) – utter madness. Jonze delivers fantastic directing and gets brilliant performances from his cast. This is one of the best and most interesting films of the last decade.

Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Video On-Demand

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