Adaptation. (2002)

Directed by Spike Jonze

Nicolas Cage is Charlie Kaufman, a confused L.A. screenwriter overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, sexual frustration, self-loathing, and by the screenwriting ambitions of his freeloading twin brother Donald. While struggling to adapt "The Orchid Thief," by Susan Orlean, Kaufman's life spins from pathetic to bizarre. The lives of Kaufman, Orlean's book, become strangely intertwined as each one's search for passion collides with the others'.

What should be (yet another) overly self-indulgent film from the turn of the millennium, turns out to be quite an engrossing watch. It seems to have a very good sense of (and very tight rein on) its metatextual elements so that it doesn't ever seem to go too far. Saying that, the bit that perhaps goes 'too far' in this viewer's opinion is the third act, which labours over the unnecessary drama. Possibly Nicolas Cage's career-best performance… or should that be plural performances? If you don't count Leaving Las Vegas (1995), naturally.