Location: New Jersey
Directed by David Fincher
Written by Charlie Kaufman
Cinematography by Darius Khondji
Film Editing by Richard Francis Burke
Music by Jon Brion
Stephen Barr- Edward Norton
Martha Barr- Rachel Weisz
Dr. Mapp- Gary Oldman
Sarah Silken- Natalie Portman
Karl- Tim Robbins
Serenity- Helena Bonham Carter
Tagline: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste"
Synopsis: Ten Years Ago, Stephen Barr (Norton) won his first big case, putting a homicidal killer named Karl (Robbins) in prison by convincing the jury that the man wasn’t insane. That night, he proposed to his girlfriend, Martha (Weisz). Stephen thought his life was on its way to perfection. Ten years later, Edward is one of the most important lawyers in the state, but his marriage is suffering, as he and his wife hardly talk to each other, and when they do they always fight. One morning, after a particularly bitter, argument, Stephen storms out of the house and gets hit by a car. The car drives off and Stephen is in a coma. The eccentric doctor who treats him (Oldman) explains to Martha that the only way for Stephen to ever wake up, is for he and his equally odd assistant (Bonham Carter) to perform a partial brain transplant, taking part of the brain from a young woman named Sarah (Portman) who was recently killed. The operation, the first of its kind ever performed, is a success, and Stephen does wake up.
But when he wakes up, he realizes that he isn’t alone in his head anymore. Part of Sarah is alive in Stephen’s Brain. Stephen starts to fall in love with Sarah, and as they talk he realizes that she was killed by the man who Stephen put in prison ten years ago, the same man who almost killed Stephen. Sarah was a witness in Karl’s case, and now Karl has been released from prison and is seeking revenge on everyone involved.
What the press would say:
Charlie Kaufman can navigate the human mind better than anyone in Hollywood, and he is at it again with his newest work, Brain Damage, an intense psychological thriller. Despite similar themes to Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine, Kaufman’s writing is still fresh, creative, and different from his previous efforts. His characters in this film are new ground for him, as the brash and determined Edward, played superbly by Edward Norton, is not the typical Kaufman protagonist. David Fincher is able to take Kaufman’s work and bring it to the screen superbly, always keeping the audience on their toes and slightly off balance. Rachel Weisz and Natalie Portman stand out as two women in love with the same man, one battling for him from the real world and one from inside his own head. Gary Oldman is delightfully eccentric, and complemented perfectly by Helena Bonham Carter, stealing every scene they’re in, and Tim Robbins will make your skin crawl with his deliciously creepy performance. Brain Damage is one trippy ride, and can be added to the list of Kaufman classics.
For Your Consideration:
Best Director- David Fincher
Best Actor- Edward Norton
Best Actress- Natalie Portman
Best Supporting Actor- Gary Oldman
Best Supporting Actor- Tim Robbins
Best Supporting Actress- Rachel Weisz
Best Original Screenplay- Charlie Kaufman
Best Film Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Original Score- Jon Brion