Best Movies of '08: #2

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    Synecdoche, New York

    Synecdoche, New York
    This is the other reason we got to movies: to be challenged by filmmakers who want us to actively engage with their work instead of sitting there passively.  For his directorial debut, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman handed himself his trippiest, most experimental script and delivered a film that will anger some and dazzle others, but is guaranteed to have everyone who sees it leave the theater asking themselves “What the hell did I just watch?”  It must be said that, as a filmmaker, Kaufman is less sure-footed than the other two directors that have translated his work to the screen, Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry.  But, in a way, his inexperience helps the film rather than hurts it; he’s willing to try absolutely anything, even if it cuts against the “rules” of cinema as taught in film school.  There are multiple levels of reality present in virtually every scene of Synecdoche, New York and it would take multiple viewings to explain what the whole thing means.  In this age of increasingly disposable entertainment, Kaufman has accomplished something unique—he’s made a film that not only demands that you see it again, but it also gets better and better each time you watch it.

    Click here to see my #3 pick

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