Starring Max Records, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo. Voices of James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker, Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper, Catherine O’Hara, Paul Dano.
Written by Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers.
Directed by Spike Jonze.
The simplistic fantasy of Maurice Sendak’s children’s book Where The Wild Things Are has made it one of the most adored works of all time. At its’ heart, Wild Things is a brief tale of childhood angst, one in which a young boy named Max escapes to the kind of fantasy world only a child could conjure. As a film, expanded with adult themes and bestowing individual personality to the creatures, Wild Things is one of the most surreal works of cinema I have ever seen. That such a unique (and simple) story could actually be translated (and expanded) into an equally unique film is testament to the creative abilities of Spike Jonze – a modern filmmaker whose resume is singularly impressive. Whilst writer Charlie Kaufman is oftentimes the target of praise for Jonze’s previous work Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, the director has been more than worthy of equal platitudes. With immense help from cinematographer Lance Acord (and co-writer Eggers), Jonze’s Wild Things is a kinetic, fantastical piece of work that is consistently stunning and oftentimes hilarious, inserting a sense of dread through the sheer hallucinogenic nature of its’ visuals. It is simply an amazing film, one that defies explanation. However, in saying that, this is the kind of film that could viciously divide its audience. It could easily be considered pretentious and ultimately empty (as a friend of mine has said), even depressive. But I disagree. Max Records is wonderful as the young protagonist, equally fragile and obnoxious, and the voice cast is exceptional, especially Gandolfini as Carol, the emotional ‘wild thing’ companion of the young boy. But this is not a kid’s film – Jonze apparently never set out to make a children’s movie. It exists as an ode to childhood for older viewers and to the exceptional power of the visual medium.
by Wadrick Jones