The Jacket

If you want to cook up an out-there mind-teaser and don't know how, rip off a good one: A Clockwork Orange or 12 Monkeys or Memento. Why use crap like The Butterfly Effect or Identity or TV's Touched by an Angel, the shallow wells from which The Jacket draws scant inspiration? As Jack ks, a Gulf War soldier who loses his memory after a head injury, Adrien Brody suffers in the mode that helped win him an Oscar for The Pianist. Things get worse for Jack back home in Vermont when he is accused of killing a cop. A nutso doc (Kris Kristofferson, eerily convincing) puts him in a straitjacket, pumps him with drugs and fiddles with his brain, leaving Jack to time-travel through his brutal past and a future where finding both a woman (Kelly Lynch) he once helped and her now-grown daughter (Keira Knightley) may clear his name.

Got that? It doesn't really matter, since director John Maybury, who scored with Love Is the Devil, can't generate much suspense with a script that fires off subplots like shrapnel. Over here is Daniel Craig as a mental patient. Over there is Jennifer Jason Leigh as a doctor. Knightley gets naked, but that's it for pleasant surprises. Though shot for maximum moodiness by the gifted Peter Deming (Mulholland Drive), the movie straps you in for a head trip that promises hallucinatory wonders but delivers the same old Hollywood formula with sugar on top.

From The Archives Issue 332: December 11, 1980
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