Director: Spike Jonze
Running time: 114 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 28th February 2003
Watched on Sky+ Tuesday 24th May 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I went into watching this without really knowing much about it. I knew who was starring in it and I knew it had picked up some awards. Other than that I really didn’t know very much about it at all. Having seen it and having done a little research I can see why it has got the notoriety it has. It’s a very clever plot that’s quite quirky but always keeps the audience engaged and guessing what the next twist will be. Of course Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman are the pair behind the excellent (IMO) 1999 film, Being John Malkovich.
Ok, to the plot… You may recognise one or two character names here. Charlie Kaufman is a bit of a timid individual who happens to be quite a successful screenwriter. He has been commissioned to adapt a book by Susan Orlean called "The Orchid Thief". The trouble is, he’s finding it almost impossible to adapt. To add to his pain, his twin brother, Donald, who is much more outgoing, has decided he wants to be a screenwriter too. He has some great ideas and is always pestering Charlie just when he’s struggling with his work. We are told (by flashback) the story of “The Orchid Thief”, an individual known as John Laroche who lives in Florida and makes a living from taking rare plants, particularly orchids, from the various parks and reserves in the area. It may seem that there isn’t much to get your teeth into here, but believe me, that’s just the bare bones of it. I really don’t want to say too much more, I believe it’s best if you watch this one for yourself.
As I said at the beginning, this is quite a quirky film with quite a few plot twists. I found it very enjoyable, if a little too long. It’s topped off by two great performances; firstly from Nicolas Cage who plays both Charlie and Donald Kaufman, he is really excellent. Secondly, we have Chris Cooper as John Laroche who really earned his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (IMO). Also of note was Meryl Streep as Susan Orlean, I thought she was pretty good without being stretched too much. There was a small part for Maggie Gyllenhaal as Donald’s love interest, Caroline Cunningham, and it was nice to see a brief cameo from Brian Cox as screenwriting guru, Robert McKee.
I quite enjoyed this quirky comedy/drama, it kept be interested all the way through and I found it quite entertaining. I did feel it was a little too long and tended to drag a bit towards the end. Other than that, a fine piece of work with a very clever plot and one I have no problem in recommending to you.
My Score: 7.5/10
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0268126/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1118700-adaptation/
Official Site: http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/adaptation/index.html