Jacket on DVD
One of the most important aspects of making a film is that you
have to find some way to make it end properly.
If you can’t tie up all the loose ends and subplots, you
should go back a few pages to see if you can fit something in.
We bring this up because of The Jacket. It’s a quasi-smart,
quasi-creepy psychological thriller that starts out well, continues
just as well, and ends well enough until you realize the awful truth:
there are a whole bunch of questions that still need to be answered.
Jack Starks (Adrien Brody) is a Gulf War veteran, who gets killed
as he tries to help a young boy. But as it turns out, he’s
not quite dead. Sometime after the war, he’s on his way home
(at least we’ll assume that’s where he’s going).
He stops to help a young girl and her mother with their car, then
hitches a ride with a random Joe.
Next thing he knows he’s in a mental hospital, accused of
murder and found innocent only due to insanity. The hospital folks
have a tendency to drag Jack downstairs, strap him into a straightjacket,
and stick him in a small box. While in the box, Jack finds himself
thrust into the future, where he discovers he died several years
ago…mere days after he woke up in the hospital. So he must
somehow find a way to prevent his death, even though he doesn’t
quite understand what the heck is going on.
The Jacket gets by on its intriguing premise and talent in front
of and behind the camera. Adrien Brody proves himself a worthy A-list
Academy Award winner by holding up much of the film on his own.
Keira Knightley is almost unrecognizable all dirtied up and speaking
with an American accent, but she does a marvelous job. Director
John Maybury builds tension and keeps us wanting more for as long
as he can…
And then when the movie is over we can’t help but feel shortchanged.
It’s almost as if the writer had the idea for the movie, but
couldn’t figure out how to end it. So rather than trying to
end it by tying up all the loose ends satisfactorily, he’d
just tie up one of the subplots and leave it at that.
We thought, maybe, it was just us who didn’t think the ending
was sufficient (perhaps we dozed off or something). But after asking
several others who saw the film, the consensus was that it did not,
indeed, end properly at all. Perhaps there’s a director’s
cut in the future? We can only hope so, for otherwise The Jacket
will forever be the movie that ruined plenty of potential with what
appears to be sheer laziness on the writer’s part.
The movie is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby
Digital 5.1, but both seem unspectacular for some reason. The picture
features a good use of tones and color (or lack thereof), but some
of the darks are much too dark and it seems too soft. Audio uses
some good separation between the front channels and excellent output
of sound effects, but the surround speakers and the subwoofer are
hardly used at all.
Extras include two featurettes and the trailer. “The Jacket:
Project History and Deleted Scenes” is pretty self-explanatory.
George Clooney and Stephen Soderbergh discuss how they helped get
the movie made, while the director and writer talk about how they
made the movie. The deleted scenes, unfortunately, don’t help
to answer any of our questions, and so just come across as slightly
annoying. “The Look of The Jacket” is a short special
effects featurette that briefly touches on the look of the film.
It’s somewhat interesting, but not long enough to be stimulating.
Finally, the film’s creepy theatrical trailer is included
The Jacket, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
103 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby
Starring Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, Jennifer
Produced by Peter Guber, Stephen Soderbergh, George Clooney
Screenplay by Massy Tadjedin, directed by John Maybury
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think