Movie Review – The Jacket (2005)

The Jacket is a layered sci-fi mystery about a Gulf War veteran who is sent to a mental institution. While there he is subject to ‘The Jacket’ which is a dangerous experiment and involves him being shut in a morgue for hours on end. However, when he’s in the jacket he finds that he’s traveled 15 years into the future, and also finds out that he dies in a few days. Thus begins a race against (and through) time as he tries to convince people that he’s not crazy while also trying to find out exactly how he died so he can prevent it from happening. 

This film is very much in the vein of ones like Donnie Darko and 12 Monkeys. Adrien Brody is pretty much perfect for this role and he’s supported well by Keira Knightley and Daniel Craig, who actually disappears into his role and it’s easy to forget that this is the man who plays Bond. Generally I liked the film. I think it was very atmospheric, it moved along at a good pace and it was very intriguing. The cast was good and I liked how the future referenced the present and how it was all linked in. There were a few great stylistic choices as well which made the film vibrant in certain scenes, and the revelations of certain characters were well-handled and had the necessary impact. 

The problem with time travel films is that if you think about them too much you start to uncover holes in the story and this is true with this film. People who want a concrete explanation for why things happen in this film will be left disappointed because there aren’t any given and I think it’s more about the emotional reactions of the characters rather than whether it’s logically possible. On an emotional level it pretty much succeed’s. It’s very easy to empathize with the main character and you do want him to succeed in his journey. There are also things going on with the supporting characters that provide a great deal of pathos. 

It’s very much a film where you have to put a lot into it and you’ll have to derive the meaning for yourself. Some people like those kinds of films, others cannot stand them. I generally like them and this one is decent but I can’t say that I’m still trying to figure things out now. It’s not one that completely blew my mind and I’m quite happy to let the lingering questions linger. I do think there should have been an attempt to make things a little clearer but if you like films that try and play with your mind a little bit you’ll probably like The Jacket.

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