Colour Me Kubrick **1/2
Directed by Brian W. Cook
Written by Anthony Frewin
John Malkovich as Alan Conway
86 Minutes(Not Rated-Language, Some Sexual Material)
If you take a look at the cast list that I supplied for "Colour Me Kubrick," you will see that I only bothered to include Malkovich. The reason is simply this-there wasn't any other character(maybe with the exception of one), that appeared in the film for longer than five minutes or so. Malkovich was pretty much the entire vehicle for this, and the entire film hinges on his performance. After all, there is so screenplay, no plot to speak of. Just a little bit of background information, and then the central concept. Anthony Frewin who penned the script didn't seem to have any type of story in mind when he wanted to tell us about this idea, and when he does want to put in something resembling a plot he tacks it on for about fifteen minute somewhere towards the end. And this is the problem of "Colour Me Kubrick." It isn't anything to recommend seeing because it isn't anything at all. It is an hour and a half of a decent Malkovich performance, a few laughs here and there, and that's it.
Malkovich plays Alan Conway, a con man living in Britain who loves to smoke, drink, and sleep with men. In hindsight, I'm surprised that Billy Bob Thorton didn't lobby for this role. Alan seems like the completely unideal person, and yet every single night he is with a new man, and he is constantly drunk even though he's broke. How? Well, whenever he introduces himself to someone he tells them that his name is Stanley Kubrick. And he doesn't even pretend that they have the same name-he literally says that he is Stanley Kubrick. He doesn't really know much about Kubrick, leading up to one memorable scene where a fan who is suspicious ends up listing all of his favorite Kubrick films-"A Clockwork Orange," "Lolita," "Barry Lyndon," "2001," "Dr. Strangelove," "Judgement at Nuremberg. . ." and when Alan tells a short story about an experience on that film he is busted. As Kubrick, Alan gets all sorts of free things-he always claims that he is broke and everybody is always just happy to buy Stanley Kubrick a drink. However Alan doesn't know that he is really ruining peoples lives-promising them jobs on the set of his newest film-"3001: A Space Odyssey, starring John Malkovich. . ." or even just not paying a taxi cab fare when he pretends to be going inside to borrow money off of his son, who doesn't exist either.
I am sure that there could have been an actual decent back story into Alan Conway-why he wants to pretend to be Kubrick, why he's a drunk. The script never really goes into why he does what he does. Instead it is mostly Malkovich walking into a pub, finding a guy, lying to him, sleeping with him, and then maybe a shot of him walking down a beach drinking before he passes out. And this is probably why "Colour Me Kubrick" wasn't given a larger release. Instead it was given one of those treatments where it comes out in a handful of theatres on a Friday, aired on HDTV that night, and then released on DVD the following Tuesday before being pulled from the theatres the next weekend. Before settling into my seat I was wondering why this would be given that treatment-Malkovich pretending to be Stanley Kubrick seems like gold. The story of Alan Conway was given a raw deal by the writer who apparently knew Stanley Kubrick, and this kind of material, as well as the star and director who this is based upon, deserves better.
Malkovich is more than good in his role as Alan Conway, and succeeded in making me laugh out loud several times. Whenever he pretends to be Kubrick he ends up putting on this phony loud British voice, something that Kubrick certainly didn't have. This is probably the most interesting aspect that the film introduces-the way that people act when the promise of a celebrity or the promise of a personal big break finds its way into their hands. Just the mere name-Stanley Kubrick-ends up igniting such selfish desires in people. They all want him for there own personal use, which is exactly why Alan Conway was successful. They didn't even need to think if it was really him or not-they just bought into it. Another funny concept is that people claim to adore Kubrick-they all say that his films changed their lives, and yet not a single person was able to spot the easy differences between Conway and Kubrick. If he was their favorite director, you would think they would have a clear distinction of what he looked like. So are people in love with Stanley Kubrick, or just the idea of him? These concepts are introduced but never fully realized, and they are always as undeveloped as the screenplay and character. Malkovich does what he can with the shoddy script, and makes "Colour Me Kubrick" worthwhile, but certainly only for the Tuesday DVD release, and not the journey to the theatre.