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The Jacket - Preview & US reaction



Preview by: Jack Foley

NOW this looks weird? Creepy weird!

The Jacket is billed as a claustrophobic time travel thriller that marks another challenging turn from Oscar-winning actor, Adrien Brody.

He stars as Gulf War veteran, John Starks, who seemingly returns to his native Vermont suffering from the affects of amnesia caused by a gunshot wound to the head.

When he is accused of murdering a police officer, however, he is committed to a creepy mental institution run by Kris Kristofferson's physician, Dr Becker, who begins to inject Starks with experimental drugs, while confining him in a straight-jacket and locking him for extended periods in the body drawer of the basement morgue.

While in this drugged and disoriented state, however, Starks' mind propels him into the future, where he meets a white trash-waitress, Jackie (Keira Knightley), and discovers that he is destined to die in four days.

Enlisting Jackie's help, Starks begins to search for a way to save him from his fate.

The Jacket marks the latest film from emerging British director, John Maybury, who was previously responsible for the acclaimed picture, Love Is The Devil.

As well as Brody and Knightley, the film co-stars Daniel Craig and Jennifer Jason Leigh and is produced by none other than George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh.

And Maybury warns that it's not an easy ride for audiences, meaning that they will have to come and do some of their own work in order to get some of the film's answers.

Brody describes the movie as being exciting, socially aware and a ride.

Needless to say, he immersed himself in the role, as he did for The Pianist, enduring outrageously long stints in an isolation tank for research purposes.

 

US reaction

Critics in America have given The Jacket a mixed response, given its edgy style and ability to play with audiences' heads.

Of the positive reviews, the Hollywood Reporter stated that 'The Jacket is not likely to be everyone's cup of tea, but filmmaker John Maybury has forged a mesmerizing mindblower'.

While Entertainment Weekly observed that it 'feels like it must be the 12th jolt-laden morbid thriller to open this year, yet it's the first that doesn't insult your intelligence'.

Less impressed, however, was Newsday, which pondered: "One can't help but wonder how American soldiers in Iraq would respond to seeing their inescapable reality used as fodder for an escapist thriller in which the real enemy is bad hospital management."

The New York Observer was also not keen, dismissing it as 'a gruesome, pretentious and incompetent mess'.

While LA Weekly felt that 'the director's work is suitably unnerving, but leaves one feeling beaten senseless by reel two'.

And Variety declared it to be 'massively disappointing'.

But Reelviews enjoyed it, with their critic stating that 'I appreciate the way the story is developed, taking audiences into The Twilight Zone, but not leaving them stranded there'.

And the New York Times wrote: "Make no mistake, this movie is terribly silly, but it's not completely terrible."

Mixed, too, was Rolling Stone, which felt that it 'can't generate much suspense with a script that fires off subplots like shrapnel'.

While The Onion's AV Club opined: "The central mystery remains effective and compelling for most of the film, until it becomes clear that it's all image and no intent."

But the final word goes to Filmcritic.com, which wrote: "I left the theater a different person than when I entered ... one of the year’s best films."

The Jacket opens in the UK on May 13.

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