10,000 BC

Adaptation. (2002)
"Charlie Kaufman writes the way he lives... With Great Difficulty. His Twin Brother Donald Lives the way he writes... with foolish abandon. Susan writes about life... But can't live it. John's life is a book... Waiting to be adapted. One story..."
A lovelorn screenwriter turns to his less talented twin brother for help when his efforts to adapt a non-fiction book go nowhere.
Nicolas Cage Charlie Kaufman
Tilda Swinton Valerie Thomas
Meryl Streep Susan Orlean
Chris Cooper John Laroche
Jay Tavare Matthew Osceola
Litefoot Russell (as G. Paul Davis)
Roger Willie Randy
Jim Beaver Ranger Tony
Cara Seymour Amelia Kavan
Doug Jones Augustus Margary
Stephen Tobolowsky Ranger Steve Neely (scenes deleted)
Gary Farmer Buster Baxley
Peter Jason Defense Attorney
Gregory Itzin Prosecutor
Curtis Hanson Orlean's Husband
Agnes NaDene Baddoo Orlean Dinner Guest (as Agnes Badoo)
Paul Fortune Orlean Dinner Guest
Paul Jasmin Orlean Dinner Guest
Lisa Love Orlean Dinner Guest
Wendy Mogel Orlean Dinner Guest
David O. Russell Orlean Dinner Guest
Judy Greer Alice the Waitress
Maggie Gyllenhaal Caroline Cunningham
Bob Stephenson David
Bob Yerkes Charles Darwin
Lynn Court Laroche's Dad
Roger E. Fanter Laroche's Uncle Jim
Sandra Lee Gimpel Laroche's Mom (as Sandra Gimpel)
Caron Colvett Laroche's Wife
Larry Krask EMT
Ron Livingston Marty Bowen
Brian Cox Robert McKee
John Etter McKee Lecture Attendee
Ray Berrios Police Officer
Nancy Lenehan Kaufman's Mother (voice)
Susan Orlean Woman in supermarket (scenes deleted)
Lance Acord Himself (uncredited)
John Cusack Himself (uncredited)
Spike Jonze Himself (uncredited)
Catherine Keener Herself (uncredited)
Jake Magnuson Cafe Customer (uncredited)
John Malkovich Himself (uncredited)
Rheagan Wallace Kim Canetti (uncredited)
Producer: Jonathan Demme,Vincent Landay,Edward Saxon
Writer: Susan Orlean,Charlie Kaufman
Adapt Your Thinking

While taking a break from studying for my calculus final (a brain-draining exercise to say the least), I sat down to write out this review on what was, no doubt about it, a brain-draining movie (in an offbeat but good way). Of course I expected this from `Adaptation', for last month, in every major magazine, it has been touted as a mind-twisting ride, which piqued my interest.

Charlie Kaufman (Nicholas Cage), by his own admission, is a loser. By my viewing, that's a fairly accurate description-if you add neurotic. Anyhow, Kaufman is a talented screenwriter, who, after writing what is his `script of a lifetime' (`Being John Malkovich), he takes on a project that is over his head-adapting Susan Orlean's (Meryl Streep) book, `The Orchid Thief' into an amazing film about flowers that will stun and amaze all.

The plot diverges here. One path follows Kaufman along the road to the inevitable breakdown of writer's block that forces him to jump from idea to idea in vain attempt to write a screenplay, until he commits the cardinal sin of screenwriting-writing himself into the script. This is not helped in the least by his hack brother Donald (Nicholas Cage) successfully working on his own script (a complete antithesis of his own).

The other road follows Orlean as she goes about writing her book three years earlier. The book is about a dentally challenged Floridian orchid thief, John Laroche (Chris Cooper), who is personable enough to cause Orlean to fall for him, his drugs, and his outside-the-law lifestyle.

As you might well imagine, this is not your usual Friday-night flick. The complexity of three separate, yet interwoven plots (Laroche the thief, Orlean writing about the thief and Kaufman writing about the writer writing about the thief) is stunning and the end, for those who will get it (I did not at first) will blow you away once it hits you…I'll give you a bit of help in knowing why the ending works later on. Oh, and Charlie (but not Donald) Kaufman, Susan Orlean, and John Laroche are all real people, which will make the film infinitely easier to understand.

Nicholas Cage is amazing. To have to carry out the performances of two different characters is certainly a feat, but to do it with such widely disparate characters like the Kaufmans is really nothing less than wondrous. Not to be outdone, Meryl Streep is superb, especially in the third act of the movie when her character becomes a more physical one. As for Cooper, well, I don't want to insult the guy, but he comes across as a redneck hick and a shyster, which is exactly what the script demanded.

All glory praise and honor for these fine actors would be for naught, had it not been for director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman (see that name before?). What they have done is simply amazing and is a tribute to their brilliance. Visually, the film does not stand out much (except for the fast-action evolution sequences that are worth their while). In short, kudos to the entire staff.

I promised earlier to give you some help in figuring out why the ending works…before I thought of this nugget of info (instead of studying anti-derivatives), the ending had me confused and slightly angry. The key to the ending is in the opening credits, in the line `Written by Charlie and Donald Kaufman'. Good luck in comprehending the ending. I give this film my first 10 of the year.

Nr of disks/tapes:1
User credit 1:1001 movies you must see before you die
User credit 2:999
Storage device:Divx 5
Imdb rating: 7.8
Musician: Carter Burwell
Running time: 114 min
Subtitles: Svenska
Audio tracks: Stereo [English]
Everything else:
Last modified: 2008-02-17 06:39:37