The Jacket
(Region 1 Edition)

Starring: Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson and Jennifer Jason Leigh
Warner Bros
RRP: $24.98
Certificate: R - Restricted (USA)
Available 21 June 2005 (USA)

Jack Starks knows little about who he is. Nor does he know why he's bound in a straitjacket and subjected to bizarre psychiatric treatment. But an even more stunning fate awaits this amnesia-stricken Gulf War veteran: the treatments thrust him into the year 2007 - where Jack learns he died in 1993...

The Jacket is an interesting movie that consists of elements of Back to the Future, Jacob's Ladder, Memento, The Sixth Sense and Somewhere in Time, and yet forges a completely new mould for itself.

Due to movies like The Sixth Sense and Jacob's Ladder, there is a great temptation for the audience to suspect that the entire movie is one last burst of energy coming from the dying mind of a near-death Gulf War veteran. Whether that is the case or not, I will leave you to discover for yourself.

Stark is pronounced dead by medics in the Gulf War, only to have been prematurely toe-tagged. Years later, while hitching, he becomes entangled in a bit of a mess. A police officer is dead, having been shot and Stark is found at the scene with a smoking gun - but can't remember a thing. Because of this he is sentenced to the loony bin. While here, he becomes an unwitting participant in a new form of treatment - which involves injecting the subject with drugs, sticking them in a straitjacket and shutting them in a morgue locker. Here, in this dark and confined space, Stark experiences the ability to travel forward in time to the year 2007.

While there are problems with this movie, like just about every time travel film that's been made, it's still a lot of fun. And, as the ending is a little ambiguous, you could argue that the whole movie was a dream or drug induced trip anyway (that's not a spoiler by the way). Two of the biggest problems I had were: Why doesn't Jackie remember what Stark looked like? And how does Jackie know that Stark was killed? Her mother was too out of it to even know who he was, so are we to believe that Jackie saw it in the paper? If so, she'd definitely remember what he looked like.

Adrien Brody is fantastic as Stark - even if he does look a little too much like British impressionist Alistair McGowan - or is that just me. Keira Knightley breaks away from the usual roles she plays, proving that given half a chance she is a great actress with more range than we've seen so far. Kris Kristofferson and Jennifer Jason Leigh also turn in award winning performances.

Extras include Project History and Deleted Scenes (a 28 minute a 28 minute featurette which includes interviews with crew and cast as well as showcasing a number of deleted scenes); The Look of The Jacket (a 9 minute featurette that looks at the design elements of the movie); and a trailer.

One of the deleted scenes really should not have been taken out of the finished movie as it explains something which I didn't get with the finished picture.

Stark's first leap into the future sees him hook up with Jackie and he spills his guts about everything - that he is from the past. She thinks he's a nut and asks him to leave. The next day he zips forward to 2007 again and goes to the diner where Jackie works. She is a little annoyed to see him but then starts telling him stuff as though she had been researching him. While it's easy to make that assumption, it still feels forced. When she forced him out of her flat there was no indication that she even remotely believed his story. However, there is a missing scene where Jackie actually goes onto the Internet and finds out loads of information on Stark and the doctors at the institution - information that they use later in the movie.

Also there are a handful of alternate endings - one of which is Jacob's Ladder all over again. Thanks goodness they got rid of that!

These nit-picks are certainly not worth tying yourself in knots over and the end movie is thought provoking, intelligent and well directed.

Nick Smithson

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Region 1 Edition

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