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A dark, confusing movie with many layers
The Jacket (DVD)
Member Name: IzzyS
The Jacket (DVD)
Advantages: Pretty engrossing, interesting if not pretty far out concept, makes you think
Disadvantages: v . claustrophobic, uncomfortable viewing for some, confusing storyline
- Story -
'The Jacket' tells the story of a gulf war veteran called Jack Starks who returns home unsure of his background after suffering head trauma while in action. He hitches a lift from a stranger but things turn sour when their pulled over by a cop who ends up dead and he's charged with the cops murder. The jury find him not guilty by way of insanity and he's sent to a mental health facility when he's subjected to bouts of being restrained in a straight jacket and locked in what appears to be a morgue drawer for a few hours at a time.
While he's locked away in the drawer, he starts to see the future, being transported into the future where he's told that he can't be who he claims he is as he apparently died years ago, just days after his present. Thus he has to try and figure out how he dies and change things for the better but can he do it in time? will people in the future believe who he is and try and help him and shine a light on what really went on at the facility he was held in? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- Thoughts/Opinions -
I like Brody as an actor and he gives a pretty heartfelt performance in this role - his eyes are quite expressive but he is also very good at seeming devoid of emotion as well, if this makes any sense.
The story is really quite confusing, it unwinds pretty slowly and as we start to learn whats going on, it seems to make less and less sense, yet we become more wrapped in Jacks world, what happened in the past and what he appears to be learning about his future. Its quite upsetting when you find out what happens, given that mistakes were clearly made and to think that such horrendous supposed 'treatments' may ever happen or have happened to people - to think of people, even or perhaps especially those who have mental health issues - if you didn't beforehand you'd be more likely to afterwards but then perhaps that was the point(?) its certainly disconcerting. I noticed that in the scenes where you see Jack shouting out from within the closed or locked drawer, it seems as if he's the only one 'locked away' at the time, yet there are many, many drawers - again adding to the claustrophobia I suppose!.
While it is a dark movie, at the end there is an element of hope present - in a way its kind of like movies such as the Butterfly Effect in that Jack just manages to tip people off so that good can come and tragedies may be avoided.
Its a rather confusing and definitely dark movie but it was nicely made and there is something about it that draws you in as a viewer. It was particularly interesting to see how the characters of Jack and Jackie (ironic? sounds like a good comedy double act but anywhooo) interacted, although I found it a bit unbelievable that it seemed at a certain point in the movie, Jackie had come to terms with who exactly Jack was and the two of them set out to find out more about Jacks death - the whole concept in this instance was a bit difficult to fully comprehend but then of course its mainly science fiction based, so feasibility shouldn't really come into it. I thought that Keira Knightly did a good job portraying Jackie, who starts off and is seen in some scenes as a rather naive and friendly young girl and becomes a rather kind yet quite headstrong and somewhat untrusting young woman. The cast certainly make quite a big difference, with the wrong actors present this movie would be alot worse.
In this movie, I think it questions how people 'see' war veterans, with Jack having served in the gulf war, being near fatally attacked (in a rather shocking scene at the start of the movie), with him being sentenced to the mental health facility later on in the court scenes presumably the jurors presumed him to be suffering from some form of PTSD or more applicable I suppose would be Gulf War sydnrome (I think thats what its called?). When I think of it, its a bit unclear what the real truth is, as the movie unfolds I feel we're shown that Jack is as sane as the rest of us yet the start of the movie stills confuses me that he claims via narration that his injuries in action marked the time he died for the first time(?) I suppose with it being a head injury he very well could have been dead for a few moments on the operating table as happens but, eh, I just found it a bit confusing, or is it really science fiction and somehow he was brought back to life(?). I suppose I was a bit distracted with other things on my mind last night but I can honestly say that this is a movie you have to concentrate on to follow, it is clearly quite layered, I think thats the best term to use.
- Would I Recommend It? -
As much as this is a confusing and dark movie which im sure won't appeal to many people, indeed quite a few people will read this review and think that their glad they hadn't seen it, there are one or two scenes that could be quite disturbing to some people and the subject matter may be uncomfortable as far as treatment of war veterans are concerned, I still feel that overall its a well made movie that is rather thought provoking, in terms of the treatment of people sent to such mental health facilities. Its quite engrossing somehow and the cast portray their characters well, so I would recommend it to those who would be curious to see it but I don't feel that its for everyone, so I suppose I'd have to go with undecided as far as recommendation goes.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks, as ever, for all rates and comments. This review was originally posted on Ciao UK.
Summary: A dark and claustrophobic movie that will have you guessing until the end