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April 12, 2004

Adaptation Review

Weird. I didn't realize that my review of Adaptation is out. Not sure when I would have noticed, but I just got an email from someone who'd come across the review. To be honest, I'm not sure it's my best writing. Still, the review conveys my ambivalence about Adaptation's cynicism. That's what really matters.

Posted by chuck at April 12, 2004 9:09 PM

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I liked your reference to Zizek in the review. Zizek makes the most sense at the level of the individual sentence.

I liked "Dangerous Mind" and "Eternal Sunshine" more than "Malkovich" or "Adaptation." I'm not entirely sure why, but maybe it has to do with the way the fist two films play with the illusory nature of reality (one questions the relevance of sanity, the other of memory). In a sense they are closer to the spirit of *visual* cinematic experimentation.

The play with narrative conventions in "Adaptation" wasn't that exciting (again, the Zizek line). Also, both "Adaptation" and "Malkovich" seemed to cross the line into the territory of hysteria, while the other two films were simply about self-loathing.

Posted by: Amardeep Singh at April 13, 2004 2:10 PM

Agreed on Zizek. He's got some great lines, but if I read more than a paragraph he stops making sense. I would have rather cited Peter Sloterdijk's notion of "cynical reason," but I didn't have access to it at the time.

I think "Adaptation" is probably Kaufman's weakest screenplay. I liked "Malkovich" quite a bit, if only for the novelty, the sense that I was witnessing the beginning of two interesting careers (Kaufman's and Jonze's), and certainly "Confessions" and "Sunshine" are much more adept at playing with the nature of reality.

Interesting framing in terms of "hysteria" and "self-loathing." In this context, I think Jim Carrey's performance in "Sunshine" is utterly fascinating in its restraint. He's pretty effective at communicating that self-loathing.

Posted by: chuck at April 13, 2004 2:37 PM

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