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The Jacket (2005)
USA / English
"Terror has a new name. "
A military veteran goes on a journey into the future, where he can foresee his death and is left with questions that could save his life and those he loves.
Adrien Brody Jack Starks
Keira Knightley Jackie Price
Kris Kristofferson Dr. Thomas Becker
Jennifer Jason Leigh Dr. Beth Lorenson
Kelly Lynch Jean Price
Brad Renfro The Stranger
Daniel Craig Rudy Mackenzie
Steven Mackintosh Dr. Hopkins
Brendan Coyle Damon
Mackenzie Phillips Nurse Harding
Laura Marano Young Jackie
Jason Lewis Officer Harrison
Richard Dillane Captain Medley
Jonah Lotan Intern #1
Angel Coulby Intern #2
Director: John Maybury
Producer: George Clooney,Peter Guber,Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Tom Bleecker,Marc Rocco
Good, if you can just sit back and not ask too many questions
Being trapped in a confined space, it would seem, gives one clarity. Uma Thurman's character in Kill Bill Vol. 2 was buried alive and was able to recall the days of her training. Jason Schwartzman was zipped up in a large bag to help him reflect on his life in I Heart Huckabee's. But the claustrophobia that these two films tried to inject in a simple scene is exploited into a full-length film in the new Adrien Brody thriller, The Jacket. Brody plays Jack Starks, a name said so often during the film that I didn't have to look it up again days later when preparing this review. Jack is the opposite of lucky. In 1991, he goes to Iraq only to be shot in the head by a child trying to protect his family. As the voice-over quickly points out, he is 26 and that was the first time he died. Flashing forward 12 months, Jack is trying to hitch a ride on a cold winters morning when he is picked up by a tense and anxious young driver (played by bad boy Brad Renfro). When a police officer pulls over the duo shots are fired leaving the officer dead and Jack with yet another bullet hole. When he awakes, Jack finds himself with temporary amnesia and the lack of his recollection of the incident allows leaves him as the only suspect to the murder. Jack is then sentenced to a mental institution where under the care of Dr. Becker (Kris Kristofferson) he finds himself being strapped in a straight jacket and thrown into a morgue locker as part of an experimental treatment. For reasons that never become overtly clear, this process allows Jack to travel into the future where he befriends Jackie (Keira Knightley) whom he had met as a young girl the day of the murder years previous. Together, they try and piece together the years between his incarceration and the present date, Christmas Eve 2007 while Jack uses his knowledge of the future to impact the lives of the present. The Jacket jumps around in time so frequently that it takes you about half way through the film to understand what exactly is going on; and even then, I wasn't exactly sure how it all pieced together. Was he real? Is he a ghost who haunts those that lead to his death? Neither of these questions come clean with acceptable answers, but for a movie of this genre, I guess we can expect to cut it some slack and do some piecing of assumptions together ourselves. There are so many things about this film that just don't work well. The chemistry between the two leads is so non-existent that it is completely unbelievable that Jackie would befriend the eerily gawky Starks and their love scene was nothing more than an attempt to throw Knightly's first screen nudity at a confused and somewhat bored audience. And although The Butterfly Effect was no Gone With The Wind, it at least appreciated the fact if you change something in the past, it should have drastic effects on how the future unfolds. But there are things that do work wonderfully. The color scheme of using only blues and greys in the Mental Institution give it a CSI: NY feel that fits well within the sterile setting. Also used to good effect is the claustrophobia of the locker. Much like Uma in Kill Bill Vol. 2, the screen goes dark and you feel as if you are squiggling along with the character trying to gasp for air while fending off insanity. Director John Maybury (you are excused if you have not yet heard of him), does an ample job of keeping the movie moving even if we don't quite understand exactly what it is moving towards. Based on a screenplay by Massy Tadjedin (again, you are excused), the movie doesn't allow you to have many popcorn refill breaks and be able to understand exactly where these characters are headed. Whether you like The Jacket or not will depend on whether you are someone who can sit back and enjoy a film or whether you think you are smart enough and try to jump ahead to try and figure things out before the characters do. I was in the latter category upon first viewing, but enjoyed it enough for a recommendation upon a revisit.

Seen it:Nej
Nr of disks/tapes:1
Storage device:Divx 4
Imdb rating: 7.0
Musician: Brian Eno
Running time: 103 min
Everything else:
Last modified: 2007-07-18 22:31:3