This film is scarcely known and I’m not sure why. It has just 35 reviews on the IMDB website. Geez Louise! I love the exuberance and frivolity of John Malkovich’s performance here. He seems to go all broke in his misinterpretation of the acclaimed, but secluded film director Stanley Kubrick. It’s based on true story of a man who posed as director Stanley Kubrick during the production of Kubrick’s last film, Eyes Wide Shut, despite knowing very little about his work and looking nothing like him.
In London in the 1990s, a balding alcoholic with an unsteady American accent introduces himself in pubs and other social settings as Stanley Kubrick. Drinks and meals are suddenly on the house or paid for by an admiring person, usually a man, whose costumes, band, acting abilities or what have you, Stanley finds fascinating. He’s actually Alan Conway (1934-1998): we watch him parlay a self-confident manner and a small amount of movie knowledge into a persona whom others immediately hang their dreams on. In exchange, Stanley asks only that they pay the bill. Will he be exposed? Do prosecution and prison await? Or has the National Health something else in mind?
The film received a very ordinary reception from critics and public alike, but I like watching it on the odd occasion mainly because of Malkovich’s accentuated acting and how he puts on false accents, not to mention the bizarre situations he finds himself by conning people and milking everything from them to satisfy his sexual and financial needs.
The fact that Malkovich and Kubrick look nothing like each other just adds to the deliciousness of the surreal situation. The manner in which the audience sees how Conway conned his victims was effective and convincing and often very funny. The special London vibe from that period came through strongly.
- Director Brian W. Cook and writer Anthony Frewin both worked with Stanley Kubrick on several movies.
- In reality, Stanley Kubrick himself was said to be fascinated by the idea that somebody was impersonating him.
- Shot in eight weeks.