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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.94%
Worth A Look: 14.12%
Just Average35.29%
Pretty Crappy: 34.12%
Sucks: 3.53%

8 reviews, 37 user ratings

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Jacket, The
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by EricDSnider

"Arch those eyebrows higher, Adrien Brody. Remind us what a martyr you are."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: "The Jacket" moves like a thriller yet rarely does anything thrilling. Take out all the obvious marks of thriller-dom -- the tense music, the flashy editing, the frightened looks on people's faces -- and you'd have a decent psychological drama. It's not that it fails as a movie altogether; it's just that it fails to be what it's trying to be.

It begins during the Gulf War of 1991, where Jack Starks (Adrien Brody) is shot in the head and develops retrograde amnesia. Some months later, he is wandering in Vermont, where he accepts a ride from a fellow drifter (albeit a drifter with a car). They are pulled over by a state trooper. Flash ahead one year: Jack has been convicted of killing the trooper and is sentenced to a hospital for the criminally insane. But Jack has no memory of what happened, and he's not insane. So what happened?

The hospital is populated with "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" characters and has a maverick doctor in its midst. He is Dr. Becker (Kris Kristofferson), scruffy and gravel-voiced, and possessed of some unusual therapy ideas. Jack is taken by Becker and his crew in the middle of the night, strapped into a raggedy patchwork straitjacket, put on a long metal tray and slid into a morgue drawer.

For some reason, when he is in this jacket and locked in this drawer, Jack experiences an alternate reality. He finds himself in 2007 -- 15 years ahead of the present -- encountering a woman named Jackie (Keira Knightley), whom he met just before accepting that ill-fated ride from the drifter. Jackie was a little girl at the time, and now she wonders how it is that Jack, whom she remembers vividly, has not aged in the intervening years. Avoiding the sun and using a good moisturizer can only account for so much.

The sci-fi mysteries of the jacket are not explained, thankfully -- those "explanations" never make sense anyway -- but Jack does begin to see that his actions back in 1992 in the mental hospital might alter or prevent unfortunate events in the future. Like his own death, for example, which he learns is imminent.

My fear is that in describing the film, I have made it sound more interesting than it is. It surely has the potential for excitement -- it deals with time-travel, after all, that old standby -- but it remains somber and slow-moving most of the time. Director John Maybury seems so intent on being artsy that he forgets to have fun, and Massy Tadjedin's screenplay simply wanders listlessly from one plot point to the next.

There is also the matter of Keira Knightley, who, lovely though she may be, is consistently one-note in her portrayal of the depressed and downtrodden Jackie. I wonder if the role is too serious for her as an actress. Her previous characters have mostly been fanciful -- pirate maidens, medieval princesses, that sort of thing -- not grounded in harsh reality like this one.

And I must say, Adrien Brody is beginning to grate. Like "The Pianist," "The Jacket" is another chance for him to be St. Adrien the Martyr, to gaze heavenward with that beatific smile of his, accepting his dreary fate so that others might live. I don't mind a character who is called upon to endure a lot, but if he's going to be so smugly "humble" about it, I just want to smack him. Put on the jacket, see the future, and stop evil-doers, Adrien. That's what this movie needs you to do.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11258&reviewer=247
originally posted: 02/15/05 02:04:17
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/05/09 Peter North I banged Keira Knightley with my straight-jacket on.... 3 stars
4/06/08 Jack Sommersby The follow-through isn't as good as set-up, but it's still atmospheric and suspenseful. 4 stars
7/28/07 R.W. Welch Jumbled time-warp opus fails to entice. 3 stars
4/08/07 fools&#9835;gold I'll be >VERY< happy not watching it again. 2 stars
3/19/07 David Pollastrini Keira Knightley is hot! 3 stars
5/05/06 Carol Baker This movie is very confusing for a Supernatural movie 3 stars
5/05/06 alice B-O-R-I-N-G 1 stars
5/02/06 al i thought it was good it could of been made better but i still liked it alot 4 stars
4/21/06 Becky good, I love Adrien Brody... but it lulled in spots 4 stars
4/14/06 Steven Lewis Butterfly Effect without a reason. 3 stars
1/13/06 ALDO good story but its a shame it wasn't made better 3 stars
1/08/06 Frenzy Well played but could have been better 3 stars
1/03/06 jeffrey blake film that began promising but failed with delivery 3 stars
12/25/05 Zeitgeist One of the better of the recent slew of "reality bending" films 5 stars
10/23/05 Raul Valdez Original sounded premise but its not genious 4 stars
9/26/05 tatum Fantastic, loved every minute 5 stars
9/26/05 rafi Great movie ! 5 stars
9/02/05 larry i thought it was great. reminded me of Jacob's Ladder 4 stars
8/22/05 John Bale Barton Fink in The Cuckoos Nest - Just Brilliant - another Jacob's Ladder 5 stars
8/13/05 Kevin Reems Expecting something else maybe? Knowing nothing up front I thought it was great! 4 stars
8/10/05 Indrid Cold The MTVesque direction is not as annoying is it might be, but the plot sinks it. 3 stars
7/23/05 Stephen F. Diamond Great film! A model film in the post-quantum realm. 5 stars
7/11/05 Brian Feiler disturbing movie, filled with claustrophobia and nightmares. Adrien Brody is fantastic. 5 stars
6/26/05 rls Strange, moody, visual. Acting (in particular Brody) is first rate. 5 stars
6/23/05 Ryan Maybe the point is to suggest that pleople perpetuating torture on others create ghosts 5 stars
5/06/05 cher i thought all the while it's like a horror movie..well, i was disappointed. 2 stars
4/02/05 Eric failure as a brainteaser and an emotional experience 2 stars
3/18/05 Rachel Adrien -yes, this movie -NO 3 stars
3/12/05 Lynn Yikes! 3 stars
3/05/05 vural toprak 5 stars
3/05/05 jcjs i don't recall seeing her naked...maybe i blinked...great acting and stuff 5 stars
3/05/05 Buford They show Keira Knightley naked! 5 stars
2/28/05 Doug "the stud" willson I loved it. Nemo is a very cute fish 1 stars
2/15/05 tsvetelina linna 3 stars
1/28/05 keith james I WANT MY MONEY BACK! 2 stars
1/23/05 Polak Didn't know what it was trying to be - heavy suspension of disbelief required 2 stars
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  04-Mar-2005 (R)
  DVD: 21-Jun-2005



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