Malkovich Colors one of the industry's great ruses

Color Me Kubrick

on March 23, 2007 by Richard Mowe
If the late, great Stanley Kubrick had not been such a reclusive figure toward the end of his life, then one of filmdom's greatest ruses might never have happened. Alan Conway (played by an outrageously campy John Malkovich) was an amateur con artist who incredibly was able to pass himself off as the master filmmaker during the 1990s. His feat was even more unbelievable because there was scarcely any physical resemblance, and Conway knew little about Kubrick's cinema. He carried it off on a tidal wave of confident bravado and the fact that Kubrick at the time was so little seen.

Directed by Brian Cook (who, with screenwriter Anthony Frewin, used to work with the real Kubrick), Color Me Kubrick ensnares curiosity by suggesting a darker, psychological motivation for what Conway did until he was exposed with some glee by the British media. It's all summed up succinctly in a program note by producer Michael Fitzgerald, who suggests, "The film has three hidden messages. One, anyone can be Stanley Kubrick. Two, all crimes perpetrated in the name of celebrity will be rewarded by celebrity itself. Three, if you ever meet a celebrity, watch your wallet."

Kubrick found himself increasingly irritated by the antics of Conway, who cut a dash through London society, but Cook looks beyond the story at hand to measure the mesmerizing appeal of celebrity — and how people are willing to suspend disbelief in favor of what they want to see and believe.

For film buffs there is much added pleasure to be derived from the apt references to Kubrick's own films and from the use of music to the clips and the restaging of scenes from A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining and so on. Malkovich relishes the character quirks in a performance that pulls out all the stops and pushes every button. Distributor: Magnolia
Cast: John Malkovich, Jim Davidson, Richard E. Grant, Luke Mably, Marc Warren, Terence Rigby, Marisa Berenson and Ken Russell
Director: Brian Cook
Screenwriter: Anthony Frewin
Producers: Brian Cook and Michael Fitzgerald
Genre: Docu drama
Rating: Not rated
Running time 87 min.
Release date: March 23, 2007

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