12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jack is stuck in a morgue drawer and becomes unstuck in time
You would never think it from the title, but "The Jacket" is a time travel story. As such, it is a relatively low keyed one, and reminded me of episodes of television shows like "The Twilight Zone," "Quantum Leap," and even "Early Edition," for various reasons that should be apparent once you watch this 2005 film from director John Maybury ("Love Is the Devil: Study for...
Published on 12 July 2005 by Lawrance M. Bernabo
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Once more up Jacob's Ladder
You know Adrien Brody's Gulf War veteran is in a bad way in The Jacket not just because he's been shot in the head and sent to Kris Kristofferson's asylum for the criminally insane for a murder he didn't commit, but because Jennifer Jason Leigh is the most normal member of staff there. In that context, being pumped full of drugs, put in a straitjacket and left in a morgue...
Published on 17 Mar 2006 by Trevor Willsmer
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jack is stuck in a morgue drawer and becomes unstuck in time,
This review is from: Jacket [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)You would never think it from the title, but "The Jacket" is a time travel story. As such, it is a relatively low keyed one, and reminded me of episodes of television shows like "The Twilight Zone," "Quantum Leap," and even "Early Edition," for various reasons that should be apparent once you watch this 2005 film from director John Maybury ("Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon").
Jack Starks (Adrien Brody) is in the army during the first Gulf War when he takes a bullet to the brain. Jack should be dead, but he survives, although he has severe memory problems. Consequently, when he is charged with a murder he did not commit he ends up being sent to a mental hospital. There he becomes the patient of Dr. Thomas Becker (Kris Kristofferson) who has an unusual way of treating Jack. He puts Jack into a straight jacket, shoots him full of drugs, and shoves him in a cabinet in the morgue. Becker thinks that this would be a good thing, but with a Nurse Ratchet type named Harding (Mackenzie Phillips) helping him, we have our doubts. However, whatever Becker was thinking would happen to Jack, having his patient travel in time fifteen years into the future was certainly not on the list.
At this point, when you want to roll your eyes over this proposed method of time travel, I want to point out that since time travel is impossible that there never can be a method that will truly pass mustard in this respect. But if we are talking really stupid nothing beats "Somewhere in Time" where Christopher Reeves's character "thinks" himself back to the past. More importantly, that particular film proved that it is not what time travel theory you come up with but what you do with the story and your characters once you pull something out of your hat. Especially since that becomes the strength of "The Jacket."
Before his life went from bad to worst, Jack had a chance encounter with a young girl and her mother. They might not be able to provide an alibi for the crime, but they would at least prove that he actually remembered something real. In the future, Jack encounters the little girl, Jackie (Keira Knightley), now a young woman. He tells her who he is and she tells him that he is dead and the date on which he died. It turns out that is less than a week away in Jack's "present." With each visit to the morgue drawer, and to the future, Jack is able to find out more information that he can use. Becker is not to be trusted, but Dr. Lorenson (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is sympathetic, even if she does not believe he is traveling in time. As he learns about his limited future from Jackie he also learns what happens to her in the future, and that becomes part of the calculus as he tries to avoid dying a second time.
In retrospect I seem to like more intimate time travel stories than those that try to rewrite history in a way that would change everything in the world in which we live. In that regard "The Jacket" is not great, but it is still pretty good and once you accept the premise ends up being a lot more satisfactory than a lot of films in this genre I have seen recently. It is ironic that Knightley did the movie to avoid being stuck in corsets for the next two decades while Brody is starting to find himself in a niche as the most mournful face on the big screen since, oh, I do not know, let us say Stan Laurel (How is that for a reach?). On this DVD you will find that the project history and deleted scenes featurette is pretty interesting, and includes a different cut of the film's love scene that is an excellent example of montage (suggesting rather than seeing is a good thing in such instances).
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Jacket,
This review is from: The Jacket [DVD]  (DVD)In an explosive and thrilling opening "The Jacket" introduces us to the tragic figure of Sgt Jack Starks a US Soldier serving in the first Gulf war. In an attack on a village he offers the hand of friendship to a small boy only to have the boy pull a pistol on him and shoot Jack in the head. Against the predictions of the military medial staff Jack survives although we suspect untold damage may have been done.
A year later Jack it hitching through the snow covered Vermont countryside. He comes across a stranded vehicle and the stranded figures of a young girl and her mother. The girl, Jackie, asks Jack if he can help them out whilst her mother is seemingly incapacitated either on drink or drugs. After fixing the car Jack is picked up by a lone driver who agrees to take Jack as far as the Canadian border. The two chaps don't make it that far however as they are pulled over by a highway patrol vehicle. In a flash of scenes we discover that the cop that pulled them over has been killed and Jack is facing a prison sentence unless the unsettled appearance of Jack's mind can convince the jury that he belongs in a secure mental hospital rather than a prison. Jack, who can remember nothing of the incident is eventually committed to a secure unit and begins a regime of sever and awful treatments.
The doctor in charge, Dr Thomas Becker has devised a method of strapping his patients into straight jackets, drugging them and then placing them into a mortuary body container for hours on end. Jack is understandably scared stiff by the treatment and rebels at every opportunity and when he starts to hallucinate inside the chamber things start to get worse. In one hallucination he is transported 15 years into the future to the year 2007 where he meets the grown up version of the girl he rescued at the roadside all those years ago. When he's convinced Jackie he is who he says he is, things turn even more frightening when Jackie reveals that the "real" Jack has died on a date that means Jack has only 4 days to live. In a desperate effort to discover what has happened to himself Jack even contrives situations to be placed into the jacket so he can go into the future, meet Jackie and continue their investigations.
Films that have featured this warping of time have come and gone before and this film is as intriguing as the rest of them. Where this one differs is the bleakness of the situation of the time traveller and the viewer really pities the disturbed Jack as he tried to make sense of what is happening. This pathetic character is excellently played by Adrien Brody and his mournful face is really suited to the role. Keira Knightley, Jackie, is likewise superb and the couple generate a great relationship. There's also good support from Jennifer Jason Leigh as the more kindly Dr Lorenson and even Kris Kristofferson weighs in with a decent effort as Dr Becker.
I do feel though that "The Jacket" is one of those films that you watch for the first time and are blown away by it, but when you either watch it again or analyse the content the shine does dull slightly. For example, there are three manipulations of time in the film and only one of them actually "works". See if you can follow this, Jack and Jackie learn in the future that Dr Lorenson used an electronic shock treatment to cure a young patient, so Jack goes back in time and suggests the treatment to Dr Lorenson. She tries it and hey presto it works, but who actually thought of it? Nobody, so really the suggestion of the treatment can have never been there to suggest, if you see what I mean. Likewise the story around Dr Becker was a little open ended, and I'm not sure it served the story at all.
The Film is good, don't get me wrong, it's very entertaining and even though some of the scenes are particularly harrowing the story does have a certain feel good factor about it which doesn't make it too grim.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long live the Organization for the Organized!,
This review is from: The Jacket [DVD]  (DVD)Here lately, the best way to find the boldest, darkest, most intellectually challenging films is to follow Jennifer Jason Leigh. Having watched The Machinist and The Jacket back to back, I feel a whole lot better about the future of motion pictures than I used to. There are actually scriptwriters and directors out there that are almost as dark and twisted as I am. Of course, The Jacket is primarily a showpiece for Adrien Brody, who gives a marvelous, haunting performance as Jack Starks, an ill-fated man who comes to know the past through the future - it's rather complicated (but it all makes sense in the end).
Starks' problems begin when a little Iraqi kid plugs him in the head as his unit is trying to control a crowd during a combat mission in the Gulf War. He is left for dead and may in fact have died (but I don't want to get into a tricky metaphysical discussion on this point). Then, it's a year later and we see Jack walk down a wintry road and help a woman and daughter get their car started - a seemingly innocuous event but one of great importance in this story. Then Jack bums a ride with a stranger, the car gets pulled over by a policeman, and the next thing Jack knows, he's on trial for killing a cop. No one believes his story, much of which he doesn't remember anyway, and there's no denying the fact that he suffered a serious head injury in the war, so he ends up being confined in a mental institution for the criminally insane. There are definitely some insane people at the institution - unfortunately, some of them are on the staff.
I'm still trying to figure out who told Kris Kristofferson he could act, but he shows up here as Dr. Mengel- uh, I mean Dr. Becker. His idea of treatment is shooting Jack up with some kind of hallucinatory drug, confining him in a straitjacket (you didn't think the title referred to a Members Only jacket, did you?), and shutting him up in a morgue drawer for hours on end. As a claustrophobic, that gives me all kinds of heebie jeebies, let me tell you. The thing is, though, that Jack starts seeing things while he's stuck in there - fragmented memories come at him a mile a minute, and in time he begins to see the future. He meets up with the little girl (Jackie) he helped earlier in the film (who grew up quite nicely into Keira Knightley) - only it's 2007, which is fifteen years in Jack's future. Actually, you can't really say it's Jack's future because he finds out that he died (or will die) on New Year's Day of 1993. Finding out you're dead is a bit of a shock, of course, so he tries to find out exactly how he died - his only hope to learn the truth is his link to 2007 and Jackie - and he can only see that future world while he is in the jacket and in that dark place. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a less evil doctor in the institution who comes to share a special bond with Jack (one she is reluctant to accept at first). Hey, it's not easy for a guy in a mental institution to convince one of his doctors that he is seeing the future.
Things get rather complicated, as you might imagine, but the movie handles the time issue wonderfully, and the whole movie really does make perfect sense. Maybe they stretch things a tad at the very end, but it's not a problem. The Jacket isn't for everyone; it's too dark and mysterious to satisfy those looking for pure entertainment. For the serious-minded viewer who loves dark sojourns into the depths of human thought and possibilities, however, The Jacket is a movie you'll be telling all of your like-minded friends about.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!,
This review is from: The Jacket [DVD]  (DVD)I saw this film on the plane coming back from india and was totally blown away by it. The story centres on Brody's character: a gulf-war veteran who is accused of murdering a policeman and ends up being sent to an assylum. Once there he is bound in a straight jacket and placed in a confined space as a form of therapy. Whilst in the jacket, however, he is catapulted into the future where he learns that his past self has only a few days left to live. From there he's got to figure out how to prevent his death (with the help of the lovely Keira Knightley).
This film came out of nowhere for me. I was expecting some Hollywood psychological thriller: nothing too demanding, just something to take my mind off the flight. But this film is just brilliant. There are stunning performances by all the leads (including Knightley who makes a decent job of an American accent; makes you wonder why Americans never get the British right). The story is quite complicated but I didn't find it hard to follow. If you were fine with memento, donnie darko etc then you'll be fine with this.
I don't really know what to say because I don't want to go into the plot anymore but just see it!(especially if you liked the above films). It's a nice little story played skillfully by all those involved. Can't wait for the dvd!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I was 27 the first time I died",
This review is from: The Jacket [DVD]  (DVD)The Jacket is directed by John Maybury and written by Massy Tadjedin. It stars Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Daniel Craig and Kelly Lynch. Music is by Brian Eno and cinematography by Peter Deming. Film is loosely based on a true story that would make up the novel of the same name written by Jack London in 1915 (known as The Star Rover in America).
Jack Starks (Brody) is serving in the Gulf War when he suffers a bullet wound to the head. Making a recovery but suffering with amnesia, he returns to Vermont. But an incident out on the snowy road will see Jack accused of murder and placed in an asylum. Here he is pumped full of drugs by a well meaning doctor (Kristofferson) and after being fitted with a straight-jacket, he's then placed into mortuary body chamber to hopefully aid his mental welfare.......
The Jacket is an odd film in many ways, most pertinent is that it is easy to pigeonhole in terms of genre familiarity, yet still have a freshness in how it goes about unravelling its time travelling mystery. There have been a number of dramatic-come-weird time travelling movies brought to the screen over the decades, some edgy and great, while others have been known to have some sci-fi purists spitting feathers. In more modern day cinema we have seen prior to The Jacket's release, 12 Monkeys, The Butterfly Effect, Donnie Darko and Jacobs Ladder, and post it there has been Déjà Vu and Source Code. While we can comfortably add Primer and Memento into this interesting group of films. The question is, is The Jacket worth the interest of the film fan after a bit of time travelling weirdness?
Well it has some problems, main one being that in spite of it gnawing away at the grey matter, the plot is simple and telegraphs the finale some way before it arrives: sadly tying things up too neatly after blurring our perceptions of Jack Stark's current state of mind. In fact, calling it a conventional murder mystery wrapped around one mans possible time travelling psychosis isn't far off the mark. But it does have the power to unnerve, weaving a tale that pulses with paranoia, self doubt and that thick atmospheric air that begs the question on what is real and what isn't? Maybury and Deming give it a smart muted colour sheen, cleverly reinforcing emotional states of characters, and the cast, led by a smartly reigned in performance from Brody, all give good value for money.
The journey undertaken by Jack marks this out as a must see for fans of similar filmed treatments, the final destination, sadly, not so. 7/10
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strap Yourself In ...,
This review is from: The Jacket [DVD]  (DVD)"The Jacket" is a film about a man who, after being found in the proximity of the body of a murdered cop and with no memory of what happened, is cleared of the murder on insanity grounds and placed in a sanitarium under a doctor's cruel and controversial regime. While undergoing a depraved experimental "therapy" by way of a method known as "the Jacket" - essentially involving placement in a morgue cabinet for hours on end - he finds himself able to leap 'outside' of his own life and death. Moving between past and future he pieces together clues from both to help him understand what really happened in his past, and what might happen in the future. In this much it follows in a similar vein to films such as "The I Inside" and "Memento".
There are enjoyable performances from the two leads. Adrien Brody (who must have the largest nose in Hollywood) plays the frustrated and disorientated victim of the medical regime, making us sympathetic to his plight; and Keira Knight, who plays the girl who takes him in, gives a good performance as the sultry daughter of an alchoholic that Brody's character first meets when she's a child, prior to him being locked up.
Unfortunately the story confuses itself somewhat towards the end, a common problem with "time paradox" scenarios; if this problem was removed however, you'd end up with a more sombre "Donnie Darko" ending rather than the one we get.
Despite this however I found "The Jacket" a really enjoyable watch, so I'm giving it five stars for enjoyment value. As an aside, there is only one mention of "Gulf War Syndrome" right at the very beginning, and the protagonist's former occupation as a soldier is really just incidental to what is otherwise a supernatural fantasy; it's no war movie!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and entertaining,
This review is from: The Jacket [DVD]  (DVD)I wasn't expecting much from The Jacket. Initial reviews in the press seemed to be lukewarm. And to be honest for the first hour I found it to be quite hard work. Some of the early scenes were a little drawn out and seemed to lack cohesion. However, I'm glad I persevered with it because it turned into a really rather enjoyable film. Where the characters irritated me at first because they all seemed to be quirky and mysterious, as the story unfolded Adrian Brody's character really grew on me, as did Kiera Knightley's. Where the film starts as a quite creepy thriller it develops into a decent time travel romance, thanks largely to the chemistry of the two leads.
The ending seemed a little bit Hollywoodised but I didn't mind it too much. I actually enjoyed watching this film more second time round. It's a shame there aren't more films like this one. Well worth a look.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Once more up Jacob's Ladder,
This review is from: The Jacket [DVD]  (DVD)You know Adrien Brody's Gulf War veteran is in a bad way in The Jacket not just because he's been shot in the head and sent to Kris Kristofferson's asylum for the criminally insane for a murder he didn't commit, but because Jennifer Jason Leigh is the most normal member of staff there. In that context, being pumped full of drugs, put in a straitjacket and left in a morgue drawer that allows him to project himself into the future to unravel the mystery of is imminent death seems almost straightforward. Yes, we're in Jacob's Ladder territory here (once upon a time it even had the same ending) without ever approaching that film's complexity or emotional power. The result is not so much bad as okay. Brody and Daniel Craig are fine, but the gimmick casting of Keira Knightley in the kind of damaged goods part that Leigh used to be able to do in her sleep doesn't really work. While it's the closest she's give to a decent performance yet, it's still all surface affectations - some of them good - but no substance, which takes away from the heart the film both wants and needs. Mildly satisfying but not outstanding.
The extras package is small but good, with the deleted scenes and alternate endings put into perspective by the acompanying documentary.
5.0 out of 5 stars Film,
This review is from: The Jacket [DVD]  (DVD)Great film love fiction time travel ? Watched it twice and need to watch it again . Recommend if you like a film to think about
5.0 out of 5 stars The Alternate Reality,
This review is from: The Jacket [DVD]  (DVD)Time shifts for Adrian Brody. The fragmented nature of time and the ability to make something happen to change lives.
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The Jacket [DVD]  by John Maybury (DVD - 2005)