Review by Ross Anthony

Does the name Charlie Kaufman ring a bell? Well, it will after you see this odd film. He made a name for himself with "Being John Malkovich" and to some extent "Human Nature" both films are good fun, odd, smart, and uniquely quirky Kaufman.

Apparently, it was so much fun using a real industry person in his earlier film (Malkovich) presumably as himself, Kaufman decides to break the third wall (as if he cared about walls at all) and enter his own film as himself (presumably) -- even better, as twins of himself. Charlie (Cage) is racking his brains for a smart, honest, anything-but-Hollywood adaptation of "Orchid Thief." But things aren't going well, while twin bro Don (also played by Nicolas Cage) delights in formula scriptwriting Hollywood style.

The film is complex, intricate, interesting and almost hypnotizing, till Charlie gets stuck (the screenplay he's writing is the one you're watching). Desperate, sweating and introverted, Charlie hands his pen over to Don. The result is an intellectually interesting contrast yes, perhaps even a strong sarcastic commentary on writing; but cinematically disappointing and well, a crash landing for the target viewer.

Glad he had the gonads to do what he did, but a thrilling anti-climax subtracts from the overall entertainment value. That said, the movie does stay with you, makes great fodder for conversation as do his other works (loved the recent "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind") and Chris Cooper is awesome as the charismatic toothless horticulturist. Oh, and I should say, the film is A material up to the switch.

  • Adaptation. Copyright © 2002. Rated R.
  • Starring Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton, Cara Seymour, Brian Cox, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ron Livingston.
  • Directed by Spike Jonze.
  • Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman.
  • Based on the book 'The Orchid Thief' by: Susan Orlean.
  • Produced by Edward Saxon, Vincent Landay, Jonathan Demme at Columbia/Magnet/Clinica Estetico.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:20:58 PDT