Adaptation (2002) – Originally written November 2003
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Once in a while, a film is made which affects you in a way that hours afterwards, your still sat, obsessed almost, by the shear magnitude of what you’ve witnessed. For the vast majority of it, this film is one of this rare breed.
“Adaptation” is about that very word. It concentrates on the lives of the Kaufman twins (real life Charlie and his fictional brother Donald), played with genius by Nicolas Cage. Charlie is a balding, fat “loser”, who manages to make practically every situation awkward. Donald on the other hand is a flirtatious layed back kind of person who enjoys life and seems to represent both what Charlie hates and what he wishes he could be. Both brothers are writing screenplays during this film, Donald a thriller called “the 3” and Charlie an adaptation of a real life book called “The Orchid Thief”.
It’s hard to know what to say about this film really. It’s a moving story of Charlie’s pathetic existance as he feels more and more useless. His first lines in the entire film are a voice-over stating how awful his life is and how he’s a complete mess. His emotions don’t improve much until the very end of the film. It’s strange attempting to analyse the character really. In a way, it feels incredibly subjective, as a lot of the time, most of us feel this hopeless and I know personally I feel sympathetic connections to Charlie.
This film is something which deserves genuine praise and it deserves an enourmous review about how wonderful it is. The problem is that no matter what I could write, I could never do the majority of this film justice. I say majority because I do confess that for a short period, it does seem to go off on a completely different angle, before returning to pattern for a beautiful finale. For this small section, it is questionable why it went this way, but even in a moment of almost action film type activity, it still fits in truely moving moments which touch the heart.
I’m not going to say anything more about this movie. It’s easily one of (if not the) best films of the last five years, and if you haven’t seen it, make it your top priority. Pure beauty in film is something rare, so embrace this example. Superb.