March 19, 2005

Movie Quick Take: The Jacket

The Jacket. This is a strange film to describe, it seemed to be intent on messing with your perceptions, but showed no interest in explaining anything. That is what I really liked about the movie, it left everything open and the we, the audience, can choose to reject it as absurd, just accept it as being part of the films universe, or attempt to fill in the blanks ourselves to explain what happened. It is not exactly the easiest type of film to watch, and some people just don't like that type of film, but this was intriguing. It combined a type of anti-Hollywood style, but does not completely divorce itself of the trappings. The story follows a Gulf War vet, Jack Starks, who suffers a near death experience, and upon his discharge, and suffering from amnesia, is hitchhiking through Vermont, where he helps a stoned mother and her young daughter. Shortly after he is assigned to a mental institution, having been convicted of killing a cop. This is where it gets interesting with the lead doctor, Dr. Becker, and his unorthodox treatments. Placing his patient in a straight jacket, the one of the title, and locking them in a drawer in the morgue. From here we get thrown forward in time where Jack meets the now grown up version of the young girl he met earlier. The discussions that they have lead to more twists in the plot. To say more would do the film a disservice. The casting is decent, with the best choice being Adrien Brody as Jack, he brings a disturbed vulnerability to the role. Kris Kristofferson plays Dr. Becker with a stern quality, and looking a lot like Nick Nolte. Also along for the ride is Keira Knightly, cast against type as the grown girl, Jackie, she does not have a lot to do, could have played a bigger part. Bottomline is that this is a good if flawed film. Recommended.


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