Here’s a film that could have been brilliant. The Jacket has a solid cast: Adrien Brody looking confused and distraught, Keira Knightley looking a little worse for wear but still a beautiful screen presence, Jennifer Jason Leigh who manages to portray herself at two ages, fifteen years apart, and the increasingly wrinkly yet still charismatic Kris Kristofferson. The film also boasts an intriguing premise. Without giving anything away what we have here is a time travel film more closely aligned with Jack Finney’s novel ‘Time and Again’ or The Butterfly Effect than Back To The Future – ie: you’ll never see a souped-up Delorean streaking across the sky in The Jacket.
The performances are certainly the strong point of The Jacket. The editing and special effects are good but often distracting – never more so than in the opening half hour. In that thirty minutes we are subjected to montage after montage, which makes it hard to submerge oneself in the fiction that early in the film. I kept waiting for the story to start.
Unfortunately the narrative is let down by writing that constantly makes short cuts at the expense of the overall film. (In fact a cynic would suggest that this occurred in re-writes rather than in the original script.) Some of the moments – particularly towards the end – rush to connect the dots a little too haphazardly. There are leaps in logic that test the audience’s suspension of disbelief and on a couple of occasions actually insult our intelligence. Perhaps if The Jacket had been brave enough to take things slowly, then this may have been more compelling. Instead we have a movie that refuses to let a scene linger more than four minutes.
That’s not to say the film wasn’t entertaining. As I’ve mentioned countless times before, I’m easy to please when it comes to thrillers. It’s even better when I’m actually held in suspense and/or enthralled by a mystery. The Jacket didn’t provoke either of these responses, and I couldn’t help but be disappointed at what was essentially a waste of a fantastic idea. There is enough to keep you entertained, but I wouldn’t rush out to spend your hard earned money on this in the cinema – DVD will be more than adequate.Rating: