by Eric Hynes (October 22, 2008) Staring into the abyss through a kaleidoscope, Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" sees ecstatic, innumerable facets in the depths. Another of Kaufman's Alice in Wonderland narratives, his first directorial effort is more gnarled and coiled than his scripts for Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation") and Michel Gondry ("Human Nature," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"), yet also more emotionally direct. Impossible to fully grasp on first pass, the film nevertheless has a rigorous -- and perversely funny -- through-line of extreme anxiety and sorrow. "I won't accept anything but the brutal truth," says his protagonist, theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman). "Brutal, brutal," he repeats, hammering home the cliched, self-conscious overstatement, but he means it every time.
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