The Jacket

Okay, so I let this one go for a while, since I kinda wanted to let it stew around in my head for a while. Kelsey and I saw The Jacket at Ridge back on Friday, and it is a trip. The thriller stars Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley and Kris Kristofferson in his first non-Whistler role since God knows when. Also featured is a nearly unrecognizable Jennifer Jason Leigh, and I had to lean to Kelsey during the credits and say "That was Jennifer Jason Leigh?" It was uncanny. Anyway..

The Jacket can be best described as an arthouse episode of The Twilight Zone, or perhaps an indie Outer Limits. Brody plays an injured Desert Storm vet, who, upon returning to his Vermont home, is framed for the murder of a police officer. He is tagged as having Gulf War Syndrome, and sent to a mental institution, where Kristofferson uses an experimental isolation technique using the titular device. Problem is, when Brody is strapped in, and slid into a morgue cabinet, he can project himself into the future. I don't want to give too much away, but obviously complications are going to crop up when these things happen.

I was surprised when I looked up this title at IMDB, as I don't recognize any of director John Maybury's previous work, and not to brag, but if I haven't heard of it, it's gotta be kinda obscure. The Jacket , however, looks like the work of a seasoned Hollywood veteran, in a good way. Brody's time in the jacket is at first eerily reminiscent of Kill Bill, just for claustrophobic effect. When Uma is buried alive, I seriously started to freak out a little bit, in the audience, and that, my friends, is the mark of a quality flick. But I digress. As time goes on, though, startling jump cuts and iconic imagery, more suited to J-Horror, overtake the claustrophobia, and Maybury starts up the crazy machine. Again, in a good way, like the tunnel in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory. Freaky, but cool.

The writing isn't great, but this isn't Before Sunset or Sideways. Knightley, as a random acquaintance in the present reencountered in the future, tends to overact, but the role is kinda about emotion. I sound like I'm making excuses for the movie, which I guess I am, but that means I liked it, and hence want to defend it. Wanna fight? Knightley is blessed with that Winona Ryder slash Natalie Portman type of beauty (hence the Phantom Menace role), but she has yet to develop the acting chops of either of the former. Give her time, though, and she'll get there.

Ok, by the way, after an IMDB check, Sofia FREAKIN Coppola was is Episode I? Along with Keira as one of Natalie's handmaidens? What, is Lucas starting a harem of geek-chic hotties? I hate him! AND Roman was a Senate guard? If I break into the set, will he make me a battle droid? Look, I have all my lines down. Ahem... (clears throat)... Roger, roger.

See, put me in the movie! Episode III already claimed Bruce Spence, meaning he has completed the holy trinity of Matrix, LOTR and Star Wars roles; and Keisha Castle-Hughes, who I hope will go on to do Whale Rider 2: Trouble in Jamaica. There's also a listing for Peter Jackson as a Blue Senate Guard in Episode III, although I'm not sure it's that Peter Jackson. I guess I'll have to watch for a guard with no shoes.

Wow, I got really off subject there. Sorry. I'd better wrap up, before I get excited. Anyway, The Jacket was a very fun, if twisted, way to spend a couple hours, although I don't know if I needed to go see it at the theater. It's one of those thrillers that will easily translate to the small screen. I give it a B for Brody, and Bravado.


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