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The Jacket (2005) May 22, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Film.
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When a title is the name of an everyday object it just screams ‘mystery-thriller’ doesn’t it? The poster makes this look like a kind of modern Jacob’s Ladder, which in a way it kind of is. Oscar-Winner (TM) Adrian Brody plays Jack Starks, a Gulf War veteren suffering from amnesia, who gets locked up in an asylem for the murder of a cop. Shadowy doctor Kris Kristofferson tries his experimental new therapy which, pleasantly, consists of lacing patients up in a straight-jacket, doping them up and locking them in a morgue locker. But this torturous ‘treatment’ somehow leads to a mysterious form of freedom for Jack.

I can’t really say much more without giving the plot away (but maybe stop reading here if you don’t want any spoilers!). Besides, the very idea behind the story is meant to be ambiguous and it wouldn’t do to give away the mystery in a ‘mystery-thriller’. The Sight & Sound review put this in a new genre of movies including the likes of Memento, The Machinist and any film by M. Night Shyamalan. It has sci-fi realist themes but concentrates on the relatable human aspects. Overall, The Jacket presents itself well. Superb editing puts you straight into the character’s mental hell before dumping you in the serene calm of the snowy American north, and the confusion of what is left of Starks mind. Brody and Keira Knightley do a decent enough job, even though I do think the latter’s character is a little underdeveloped. And is there not something worrying about him dreaming/having a sexual relationship with a girl he met when she was six?

There are a few plotholes and the film does suffer from the natural need to wrap everything up nicely (which it doesn’t). Why, in Hollywood endings, does a car upgrade and a job in a hospital equate to a better life? But the quibblings of an overly critical mind aside, this is an original, entertaining production from Clooney and Soderbergh’s Section 8. I look forward to more.

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