HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
   
 
  Adaptation The Great Write Hope
Year: 2002
Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton, Cara Seymour, Brian Cox, Judy Greer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ron Livingston, John Cusack, Catherine Keener
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Hollywood scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman is given the job of adapting New York journalist Susan Orlean's bestselling non-fiction book 'The Orchid Thief', the story of eccentric Miami orchid breeder John Laroche. At the time he is doing nothing but hanging around the set of Being John Malkovich, which is has also written, so takes the job on. But Kaufman finds producing a screenplay from Orlean's book a tremendously difficult task, and after weeks spent agonising on how to approach the material, begins to write a story of the writing process itself... with himself in the main role.

The above is both the true events that led to the writing of Adaptation, as well as the actual plot of the film. Kaufman and Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze did intend their version of Orlean's book to be their next film, but when this proved too difficult, fashioned a strange, fascinating black comedy, that plays loose with fact and fiction.

Part of the fiction is Charlie Kaufman's twin brother Donald, who despite sharing a screenplay credit with Charlie, doesn't really exist. In the film Nicolas Cage plays both roles as two very different people; Charlie is a neurotic, self-loathing, sexually dysfunctional misanthrope beset with anxiety over his job and place in the universe, while Donald is a happy-go-lucky flirt whose only goals are to make some money, score some chicks and have a good time. As Charlie slowly goes mad trying to find a way into Orlean's book, Donald starts writing his own script, an idiotic psycho-thriller that utilises the rules of screen-writing guru Robert McKee (another real-life figure, played here in a delicious cameo by Brian Cox), the kind of structural rules that Charlie despises.

Kaufman's struggle is interspersed with events from The Orchid Thief itself. Orlean is played by Meryl Streep, a role which finds her in rare comic form, while Laroche is brilliantly characterised by Chris Cooper, a chain-smoking, charismatic loner with no front teeth and an obsession for wild flowers. We follow Orlean as she is at first simply amused by the eccentric Laroche, and then slowly attracted by his intoxicating passion for orchids and life.

Nicolas Cage delivers the kind of performance we all remember him to be able to provide, and his ability to act against himself as the twin brothers is as skilled as Jeremy Irons' work in Dead Ringers. We feel Charlie's frustration, and come to love Donald's simplistic charm. There are cameos from John Cusack and Catherine Keener, but this isn't really a Player-esque Hollywood satire; it's more personal than that.

For 90 minutes, Adaptation is wonderfully entertaining, if often painful to watch. And then it goes very strange indeed, as Jonze and Kaufman gleefully toss in all the Hollywood conventions that Charlie Kaufman (the character) has railed against throughout the film — sex, drugs, gun fights, car chases, and ridiculously simplistic epiphanies. It's the way that Donald Kaufman or Robert McKee would have ended the film, but while clever, it's one step too far, and slightly betrays the audience's investment in the story. Nevertheless, Adaptation remains a challenging film, with tremendous acting and a devil-may-care attitude from its makers that one can't help but admire.
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 11150 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Spike Jonze  (1969 - )

Real-name Adam Spiegel, Jonze first made his name as the director of some of the most notable music videos of the 90s, including The Beastie Boys' 70s cop pastiche Sabotage, Bjork's It's Oh So Quiet and Fatboy Slim's mall-dancing Praise You (in which he also starred). Jonze made his feature debut with the brilliantly bizarre Being John Malkovich in 1999, following it up with equally strange Adaptation in 2002. He also directed an all-dancing Christopher Walken in the video to Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice, and co-starred in David O. Russell's war comedy Three Kings. His opening out of the classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are was widely admired, as was his computer love story Her. Jonze is also the heir to multi-million dollar Spiegel mail-order catalogue business.

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: