Colour Me Kubrick (Color Me Kubrick)
John Malkovich is a stunning character actor and you can just see him getting lost in his performances. This is particularly true for Colour Me Kubrick, which I would think is his strongest performance to date.
Malkovich is not the only great thing about this film, the script and dialogue is superb and gives some superb natural laughs for the audience, as well as a sad look at the state of our mental health system in the UK along the way!
However, instead of bringing a straight look at a quite unusual tale, this film is a comedy, and gives Malkovich the opportunity to flex his acting muscles on a character who is forever changing his personality to suit the need of the moment and the people he is trying to connect with.
Through each new encounter he changes his voice and personality to be another Kubrick, from a very upright and restrained character to a wildly outlandish one near the end of the film, and he still pours comedy and pathos into the character as he progresses. This he does with such ease and style, it's obvious he's one of the great actors of the screen.
Despite the mention there of the great comic side to the character and the superb timing that Malkovich brings to that, there's the great performance and scripting. These build our sympathies with the character and help us to see his slow descent into his own characters of Kubrick, away from himself and his own unloved life.
The film is superbly written and directed, giving us some amazing moments especially with the score. The uses of the themes of Kubrick are in many scenes, and used to great effect. For example the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme plays as Alan Conway leaves his house and heads to the local launderette (Laundromat) to do his weekly wash, or from the same film, the Blue Danube plays as the telephone rings. These moments have to be seen to understand the wonderful comic writing and direction behind them, and these little moments are throughout the film.
The guest appearances are also amusing to spot, the most surprising being Jim Davidson with one of the best movie entrances I've seen in a long time.
The film references are also quite brilliant. In one scene two films are captured in one, and this is perhaps the best and most amusing. I shan't spoil it for you, suffice to say pay close attention when Ken Russell appears onscreen.
It's all very well written and played with a great bent towards comedy, but keeping an eye strongly on the serious and somewhat sad story of the lost man himself.
The filming is strong with some superb visuals and the camera is often moving through and around a scene. There's plenty of focus on the lavish sets and costumes, particularly Malkovich's lavish wardrobe.
The feeling is that this film has been created as a package, with the sets, costume, score, performances, writing and direction all pulling together as one when so often films, even good films, have the feeling of separation during the process.
My only issue with the film was the slightly deflated feeling I ended with as the film stops quite abruptly and sums the lives and futures up quickly. It felt a little too soon and a little too rushed.
That aside though it's an excellent film, incredibly funny, with some hysterical moments of great direction and acting. You could see this for Malkovich's performance alone, but the entire package is superb.