Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

ZeroC Reviews The Newest Charlie Kaufman Script!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. And it’s the first solid information on the script I’ve seen anywhere. The LA TIMES wrote a piece about it that stirred up some hubbub among the easily-hubbubed. LATINO REVIEW wrote a script review that demonstrated a complete disrespect to Kaufman, and an absolute lack of any feel for his work at all. And neither one of those pieces explained a damn thing about the script. So it’s a pleasure to actually publish something that gives me a sense of what this might be about. I’d love to lay eyes on the script myself, but for now, this’ll do...

Hey Moriarty, Let me just start off by saying that Charlie Kaufman is my favorite screenwriter currently working in movies. I loved Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is probably one of my favorite films of all time. I don't think there's another writer out there that's pushing the medium of film right now as much as Kaufman is. That said, I've just finished reading the script for Charlie Kaufman's new movie Synecdoche, New York (although the title on my script says "Schenectady, New York", but I think someone just got confused along the way and missed the play on words), and I figured I'd share my thoughts on it. For those of you who are too lazy to look things up, a synecdoche is a literary term for a part being used to represent a whole or a whole being used to represent a part, like using the flag to represent the country. The title is particularly apt for this story, as it's all about representation - how people are sometimes used to represent other people, how people represent things and things represent people, how things in the physical world come to represent our emotional states and visa versa, and perhaps most importantly (this being a Charlie Kaufman movie after all), how the lines between representation and reality blur together. I know all of that sounds incredibly vague, but honestly, it becomes very apparent from reading this script that what's important isn't what the story's about so much as what it's ABOUT, although I'll try my best to give you a rough estimate of the former. BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILERS (ALTHOUGH I'LL TRY TO KEEP THEM MINOR) The main character in the script is Caden, a theater director who beings the film married and with a young daughter. Caden goes to the dentist for his usual checkup, who discovers something peculiar with him and recommends him to another doctor, who recommends him to yet another doctor. We're never really told what exactly it is that's wrong with Caden, and it doesn't seem like he or the doctors he goes to know either. One thing is for sure though, his condition progressively worsens as the story progresses, although in the end this subplot becomes more symbolic of his character and his situation rather than having any major relevance to the story. In fact, the first half or so of the script seems to be about a bunch of different things involving Caden and his life. We have him dealing with this mysterious disease that's screwing with him mentally and physically. We have him dealing with his wife, who takes his daughter and leaves him to go live in France. We have him dealing with the fact that time seems to skip forward in leaps without him noticing (sometimes Caden will be speaking to another character and reference something that just happened to him in the previous scene, only to have the character point out that 5 years have elapsed). Most importantly, we have him dealing with various women in his life, with whom he is constantly striving to make some kind of a lasting connection with. One woman in particular is Hazel, a friend who eventually becomes a lover who basically serves as the female lead in the story. The development and exploration of their relationship becomes a major point in the story, although it's not the main point of the story (which I haven't gotten to yet). I guess if I really had to pick one aspect of the script that could be considered the main premise, it would have to be that Caden eventually decides to put on a play about his own life. This leads to Caden hiring actors to play himself and all of the people around his life. He builds sets that are almost exact replicas of his home, his street, the places he's been. He re-enacts scenes that we, as the viewer, have witnessed earlier in the script. It all gets very Kaufman-esque as we watch Caden direct an actor playing Caden direct his own play-within-a-play about his own life. Things only become more confusing when the actors start making suggestions to their "real life" counterparts as to things they should do, just so the actors can re-create them on-stage. Hazel, Caden's assistant in this endeavor, begins developing a romance with the actor playing Caden, which leads Caden in turn to develop his own romance with the actress playing Hazel. Then they all have to put it in the play somehow. As Caden gets further and further into developing the play, it starts to consume his life, until the point where we, as the viewer, no longer know if the scene we're watching is actually happening to Caden or if it's just a representation of something that's already happened, or if it's a dream, or if it's a figment of his imagination. Oh, did I mention that Caden might be schizophrenic? Oh, and I don't want to get into it too much, but the script also features a character who's the greatest living artist in the world, but she paints everything on a tiny canvas that can only be seen through a microscope. Also a character that lives in a burning house. Also a character that has been following and recording Caden's every move for 10 years. Also a character that's a princess from a fairy tale. Also much of the story takes place in a futuristic Orwellian wasteland. Also lots of crotch-sniffing and vagina shots. But it all works somehow. Anyways, enough of the plot stuff. Overall, this seems to be, by far, the craziest script Kaufman has written yet. It's beautiful and it's haunting and it completely throws logic or reality out the window while still managing to be full of ideas that I really haven't put the proper amount of time into thinking about. I'm not even close to sure what it is I just read, and if it ever gets filmed and you guys see it, I'm sure that leaving the theater, you won't be sure what it is you just saw. Charlie Kaufman has written a story all about the theme of representation that will force us, as the viewers, to decipher and interpret through the lens of representation. When people watch this film and debate it - when they're trying to figure out Caden and his motivations and his actions - the conversations will all be about how this part represents this and that scene represents that and this character represents the other thing. I really hope Kaufman is able to pull this off (I hear he's directing this one himself), and if he can, this may end up being one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of cinema. Either that or a steaming pile of indecipherable, pretentious shit. You know, whatever. Call me ZeroC
Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus