09 May, 2006

Wanted: One Dramaturg

    I just saw The Jacket this afternoon and I think I’d give it three stars out of seven.  It was an enjoyable movie, but the writer and director could have done several things to make it much better and more coherent.
    Personally, if a movie wants me to suspend my disbelief in time travel, I’ll do it without hesitation – just because it’s a cool idea – as long as it’s presented well.  What I liked about The Jacket’s presentation of time travel is that, even though Jack repeatedly traveled to the future, the future didn’t change based on his actions in the present.  And I was really excited about it . . . until the end when they decided to abandon the idea and it all came crashing down.
    Unfortunately, in order for the proper ending to replace the current one, the love story would have had to be real as opposed to a box on the checklist of scriptwriting.  Aside from the ridiculous and completely avoidable similarity in their names, I love the idea that Jack helps little Jackie and her mother in 1993 and then falls in love with Jackie in 2007.  What I don’t love is the way their relationship came about.  One minute she’s merely helping him track down information on his death at Alpine Grove, the next minute he’s leading her through the asylum by the hand as if he’s held her hand ten thousand times before, and the very next he pulls her to him John Wayne style and they have themselves a romp.  Had the writer, director, and/or actors taken care to build the attraction and desire by small glances, gestures, or a careful word from time to time, the John Wayne moment would have won me over and the sex scene would have been far less unecessary than it was.  As it is, my reaction was, “Where did that come from?”
    Had they built the relationship the way they should have, they could have used the appropriate ending where, instead of Jack returning to a changed future, he could return to the same future with the unfortunately named Jackie waiting for him.  As it is, the ending makes zero sense in the context of the film and left me rather dissatisfied.
    All things considered, The Jacket is a decent thriller, though lacking a focus and purposeful direction.  If you have time to kill, I suggest watching it, if only for Adrien Brody’s faultless performance.

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