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Adaptation Review


Excellent
Wrap your noodle around this one. Real-life screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich; Human Nature) writes a screenplay about screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) writing a screenplay adaptation of a real-life book, The Orchid Thief, written by real-life author Susan Orlean (played in Adaptation by Meryl Streep).

Thus spake Adaptation. Starting out with fake (or real?) behind-the-scenes footage of Malkovich, taking detours to the dawn of life on earth and story mogul Robert McKee's screenwriting class, Darwin's lab, Orlean's book (with Chris Cooper playing the swamp rat/scientist/orchid thief himself), voice-overs, and flashbacks, Adaptation finds inventive convolutions that might make it seem more esoteric than it really is.

Continue reading: Adaptation Review

Adaptation Review


Excellent

Poking around in the mind of John Malkovich was a wonderfully weird, wildly conceptual experience in 1999's "Being John Malkovich," but the ingenious "Adaptation" is a testament to the fact that screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's head is an even more peculiar place.

Kaufman is the off-kilter mastermind behind both films, and while the former was a dark, cerebellum-warping, fictional funhouse ride, the latter began life simply as a commission to adapt Susan Orleans' novel "The Orchid Thief." What the project morphed into, however, is something far more bizarre because Kaufman's unbridled and bewildered efforts to turn the book into a movie began bleeding into the screenplay itself.

In the deft and innovative hands of "Malkovich" director Spike Jonze, three cross-pollinating narratives are stitched together in an extraordinary patchwork of idiosyncratic storytelling: First, the film follows the plot of "The Orchid Thief," which is, in part, about the misfiring conservation philosophies of a real Florida flower poacher named John Laroche (Chris Cooper), who took Orleans (Meryl Streep) into the Everglades on excursions to steal protected orchids that he then breeds to sell in his flower shop.

Continue reading: Adaptation Review

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