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Being John Malkovich (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1999)

John Malkovich , John Cusack , Spike Jonze  |  R |  Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (544 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Malkovich, John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener
  • Directors: Spike Jonze
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: May 15, 2012
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (544 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007A4Y1Q8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,578 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New selected-scene audio commentary featuring filmmaker Michel Gondry
  • New behind-the-scenes documentary by filmmaker Lance Bangs
  • Conversation between John Malkovich and humorist John Hodgman
  • Director Spike Jonze discusses Being John Malkovich via photos from its production
  • Two films within the film: 7½ Floor Orientation and “American Arts & Culture” Presents John Horatio Malkovich, “Dance of Despair and Disillusionment”
  • An Intimate Portrait of the Art of Puppeteering, a documentary by Bangs
  • Trailer and TV spots
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a conversation between Jonze and pop-culture critic Perkus Tooth

  • Editorial Reviews

    Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Or, more specifically, have you ever wanted to crawl through a portal hidden in an anonymous office building and thereby enter the cerebral cortex of John Malkovich for fifteen minutes before being spat out on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike? Then director Spike Jonze (Adaptation) and writer Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) have the movie for you. Melancholy marionettes, office drudgery, a frizzy-haired Cameron Diaz (There's Something About Mary) but that's not all! Surrealism, possession, John Cusack (Say Anything), a domesticated primate, Freud, Catherine Keener (Capote), non sequiturs, and absolutely no romance! But wait: get your Being John Malkovich now and we'll throw in emasculation, slapstick, Abelard and Heloise, and extra Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    161 of 189 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars I agree with Roger Ebert- THE film of 1999. April 1, 2000
    Format:DVD
    Don't get me wrong- I loved American Beauty. I was shocked by The Sixth Sense. I was moved by Magnolia. But for me, the movie in 1999 that made me sit back and say "wow" was Being John Malkovich.
    I am sure you know the plot, and words wouldn't help to describe how original (and ingenious) it is. The film works on so many levels- it is a screwball comedy, an existential discussion of the nature of existence, a study of sexual identity, and a satire of the modern desire to "escape" from life. On top of all of that, it is darn entertaining to watch!
    The characters (played to perfection but Cusack, Diaz, Keener, and Malkovich himself) are all well-drawn, and the actors do a fantastic job- wait until you see Diaz, unrecognizable in frizzy hair and frumpy dress.
    The directing is top notch as well. Spike Jonze (of Three Kings fame) has made a wise choice- he recognizes the script is the star and has directed a film without any flashy camera work, which would detract from the real focal point. That is not to say the work is pedestrian- he did everything that had to be done to make the film, and he did it well (note his Oscar nod for best director).
    The production design is a big star here as well. The 7 1/2 floor is almost "Gilliam-esque"- in fact, when I first saw the preview I assumed it was Terry Gilliam's (Brazil, 12 Monkeys) newest film.
    The best word to describe this film is "giddy." I saw that because that is what I brought away from it- I felt giddy watching it, and you can teel the cast and crew felt the same making it. The best thing I have read about the film was from a rejection letter from another studio, which neglected to option the screenplay: "I'm sure Being John Malkovich would be regarded as a work of genius on whatever planet it was written." If that doesn't make you want to see the thing, nothing will.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD
    "Well, there's this guy...." That's all that some viewers could really come up with when asked to describe "Being John Malkovich", the latest film starring Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener and John Cusack. Oh...and John Malkovich is in it, too. This movie is so original, I can't even begin to explain this movie, other than that it was intelligent, fascinating, and hilarious. Because of the originality, it is completely unpredictable: you are so completely in the dark trying to guess what is going to happen next, that you end up not even bothering to guess-which makes a great movie-going experience.
    Cusack plays Craig Schwartz, a puppeteer who believes he is not just a puppeteer, but an artist. Diaz, in a wig that makes her nearly unrecognizable, plays Schwartz' animal-loving wife, Lotte. Cusack, upon the realization that he might not make it as a puppeteer, decides to get a day job, at a place on the seventh and half floor of a New York skyscraper. It is here at this odd office floor, that Cusack stumbles upon a portal to John Malkovich's brain-where he is allowed to experience what it is like to be a celebrity for 15 minutes, and then be spit out somewhere outside the New Jersey turnpike. Hilarity ensues, and metaphysical questions are asked.
    This movie is like a dream-and not in the sense that it's an incredibly great movie, although it is. It's like a dream because of the way that the logic is formatted. Things that have seemingly little significance, have a large significance by the movie's end. We are whisked away from plotline to plotline, that soon the rhythm of the rapidfire plot becomes catchy. Things that would not make sense in most movies makes complete sense here.
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    16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars I think; I feel; I suffer; I like this movie December 9, 2004
    Format:DVD
    Being John Malkovich is one of the most thematically ambitious films of the 1990's. It delves figuratively and literally into the weaknesses and complexities of the human psyche through the self-revealing and often comical actions of the main characters. Through bizarre situations, a subtle but emotional soundtrack, and a tiny portal on the 7 1/2 floor of an office building, Malkovich investigates the multi-faceted aspects of human beings, and the troubles they face in trying to find themselves.

    Each character in this film is aware, sometimes painfully aware, of his or her identity, and the extremes that they reach in trying to change, control, and manipulate their identities suggest that consciousness is perhaps more trouble than it's worth. Craig Schwartz, played by John Cusack, is a talented puppeteer, and therefore a master at adopting multiple personalities, but until he finds a real person to imitate, he remains in his workshop, alone and unsatisfied with his life. That is, until he meets the magnetic Maxine, who's confidence and boldness enchants Craig for the entirety of the movie.

    It seems logical to assume that if Craig is unhappy with his identity, then he could be happier if he wasn't aware of himself at all. As Craig says, "Consciousness is a terrible curse - I think; I feel; I suffer." Once Craig discovers the Malkovich portal in his office, people start lining up, literally, to partake in the life-altering experience; everyone, that is, except Maxine. Not once does she reveal the slightest interest in going through the portal. Maxine is comfortable in her own skin - a quality which Craig, and pretty much everyone who meets her, greatly admires - but it is not a comfort that comes from being ignorant of her own identity.
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