Ok, I admit it; I am not a Nic Cage fan. I've seen him mostly in action films, and, frankly, he doesn't quite cut the mustard for me purely as an action hero. So it's just as well that he can also prove that he is, indeed, a very good actor. 'Adaptation' pretty much convinced me to give him another go, and along with the brand new 'Matchstick Men', it looks like he's returning to what he can do so well- character performances that are interesting to watch and intriguing to think about.
For this film, he tackles the duel role of twins Charlie and Donald Kaufman. Lonely, cynical Charlie is struggling to adapt a book for a screenplay- an intensely personal and Herculean task. His cheery brother is writing a screenplay for an action film on the off-chance Charlie could slip it onto a producer's desk. Donald's screenplay is taken up, and goes into production while Charlie is still struggling with his more highbrow endeavour. That's one story line. Interlaced with this are passages from 'The Orchid Thief'- the book Charlie is adapting, and the story of the book's author and her own search for the thief in question- John Laroche- who clones rare orchids to sell to collectors.
A very personal film, this is the second success-story for real-life screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, after the hugely popular 'Being John Malkovich'. Occasionally we become as lost between fiction and reality as the screen-Charlie. A complex bittersweet comedy, this is a tale of lonely people, their search for meaning and the various ways in which they deal with life and the epiphanies they make along the way. Clichéd as this might sound; this is a story that really, truly is about the human condition- in all its funny, confusing, frustrating glory. It would be flippant to suggest that the twins represent the two sides of real-Charlie’s psyche, and that the scenes of writer’s block ring so real as to be almost totally autobiographical. But, hey, there’s so much here that surprises and suddenly you realise you’re thinking, “oh, *right*! And- with- wow!”
This is a feast for the imagination with a truly brilliant turn by Cage. If you like your films layered, lyrical and fascinating, this is one comedy you won’t want to miss.
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