Sunday, September 26, 2010

Best of the Decade #14: Adaptation (2002)

There have been plenty of films about the shape-shifting, incomprehensible process of writing, but not until Adaptation had any of them been as shape-shifting and incomprehensible as the art form itself. Modern genius Charlie Kaufman – with an assist from his imaginary twin brother Donald (wink wink) – dives headlong into his own head as he (played by Nicolas Cage) attempts to adapt a book about a crazy flower fanatic (Chris Cooper). Cage is excellent not only as the lovable loser, but also as his brother, and director Spike Jonze does a terrific job of integrating both characters into frame with each other. The star of the film is still Mr. Kaufman, whose self-referential screenplay is a droll, maddening, at times cynical but utterly profound glimpse at the mind of the writer, the creative process, and a testament to art that does not follow standard principles. In a word: brilliant. Bloody brilliant.

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