Friday, October 31, 2008

Movie Review: Synecdoche, New York

I just saw Charlie Kaufman's new film, "Synecdoche, New York". It is a masterpiece of art and intellectualism, a painful and thought-provoking movie with the signature Kaufman style.

It is a marvelous and incredibly strange and disturbing portrait of a man who lives his life with a depressed sense of unworthiness, who is confused and distraught much more than he is ever clear, decisive, or happy. It's INSANE, and Charlie Kaufman has made a film a whole lot more depressing, sad, pensive, thoughtful and existential than even his recent masterpiece, Eternal Sunshine. Choosing to direct the film (for the first time) that he wrote was an excellent and bold move. His direction adds a lot more to this film that would not be able to exist had it been directed by someone else. I mean, who other than Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry could you even begin to attempt an explanation of a Charlie Kaufman film?! Though those directors did a great job on Kaufman's previous works, this one is special in that it really explores things on an ever grander stage (literally) and becomes more and more weird and thought-provoking as the movie progresses.

Kaufman grabs the audience and twists the story as he always does, making you completely confused on purpose... only to throw 1000 more questions at you with no answers. This is a brilliant masterpiece, a painful and depressing outlook on life, art, and existentialism... and even more so, a bold warning to live your life as differently from the protagonist's life as you possibly can. This is a warning to those negative GenX'ers out there, and to people who just can't bother taking their life by the horns and making the most of a situation. This is not just a warning on complacency, it's an example of what can go wrong when you stop caring and don't drive your life in any direction at all.

There are thousands of ideas that this kind of movie sparks in your mind.

For me, it's a reminder to look at the big picture as often as I can, and to make sure I steer my life in the direction in which I believe it should go.

Confusing at times, which was surely intentional on the director's part. The acting is perfect. Philip Seymour Hoffman will at least get an Oscar nomination for this.

Magnificent, go and see it if you want something to think about and aren't aiming for a feel-good comedy. :)

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