Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Jacket

Based on the trailer alone, The Jacket looks like a clone of Ashton Kutcher's The Butterfly Effect, with the protagonist able to transport himself through time in the hope of changing his past/present/future, only that the premise and effect is different - the "jacket" refers to a mental patient's straitjacket.

However, Jack Starks (Adrian Brody) is not criminally insane. Sure, he may have died once in Desert Storm, and miraculously survived, but circumstances a year later back home in a horrific homicide condemned him into an asylum.

The out of body experience in this film is never explained, no whys, no hows - it seems that it's due to the effect of a cocktail of drugs administered, together with the unorthodox and experimental practice of confining the patient in the morgue's dead-body closet (the claustrophobic effect sort of reminded me of Beatrix's in Kill Bill Vol 2, where she was buried alive in a coffin).

So Jack suddenly finds himself 15 years ahead in the year 2007, where he chances upon Kiera Knightley's Jackie Price, whom he once helped on that faithful day of the homicide (again, how he came to meet her is never explained - it just happens). After gaining her trust as a time-traveller / dead man "resurrected", she helps him in a journey to discover the events that led to his apparent death in the asylum, and at the same time falling in love with her good Samaritan, while he flits in and out of future time. Also, it seems he can only travel between the two time periods, and nothing beyond either, beyond his control.

As with all time-travelling films, there is always the paradox which one should never ever ponder (it's the huge plot holes exposed if you do) - what you know in the future, when applied in the present, surely will change the way the future is presented the next time you visit it, no? I think only the Back To The Future trilogy dealt with this paradox in a convincing manner, and shown on screen as well.

The 2 leads give convincing performances, as do the supporting cast of familiar faces like Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kris Kristofferson as doctors in the asylum. My only gripe in the local screening was the unwelcome abrupt interruption (read: poor censor workmanship) of the love scene between Brody and Knightley.

The ending, like The Butterfly Effect, is your typical Hollywood cop-out ending, but something which I feel the audience would expect as they secretly root for the protagonist to emerge victorious. But again, given the many unexplained plot devices and an ending which still leaves you with ONE major question (probably up to your discretion), this is a film that could have been a time-travel classic, but turned into one of mediocrity.

3 comments:

cowboy caleb said...

I'm a sucker for time travel so i think I'll go check this one out.

Stefan S said...

hey! it's cowboy caleb! :D

yeah, but don't put your expectations too high - you might enjoy the show!

Stefan S said...

didn't know this article got Tomorrow-ed!

http://tomorrow.sg/archives/2005/05/11/everyones_a_critic.html

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