Tuesday, December 31st, 2002
So I finally got to go see Adaptation, and have to say it was absolutely worth the wait. Going in, I knew the premise and had read a good number of reviews, but I still didn’t really know what to expect, but that kind of goes with the territory. If you told me Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman were making a movie about a guy who waters his lawn, I’d still go in not knowing what to expect.
Nicholas Cage gives a performance that reminds you that he can actually be a decent actor with real depth, when he’s not tossing off asinine lines like, “You should have put the bunny back in the box!” and whatnot. He gives an excellent performance as both the schlubby and neurotic Charles and the vacantly chipper Donald.
A lot of people have taken issue with the film’s climax, like it was a cop-out and let down. I think it comes down to trust – do you give Jonze and Kaufman the benefit of the doubt? Was it the desperate final act of a writer who had genuinely run out of ideas or a very deliberate tongue-in-cheek construct to show how silly and unsatisfying conventional Hollywood devices could be? A little of both, I think. And if you’ve bought into the premise of the film to this point, you’ll understand that the final act plays an absolutely essential symbolic role in the character development of the protagonist.
This little review has (appropriately enough) taken an extraordinary amount of time to write and re-write, and I’m still not really happy with it… Adaptation is rich, complex, narcissistic, wildly funny and utterly original, and highly recommended.
np – Velocity Girl / !Simpatico!