The Jacket

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      I've always liked time travel stories, starting with the original Star Trek episode, The City on the Edge of Forever where Kirk and Spock have to go back in time and change history back the way it was after McCoy screws things up. Then there's Back to the Future, Final Countdown and recently Kate & Leopold. And then there is Sliding Doors where two completely different lives depend on whether Gwyneth Paltrow made it into the train or not. This aspect of how one small thing can change your future life completely is one part of the new time travel film, The Jacket. This film is strangely similar to Jacob's Ladder where Tim Robbins played a Vietnam veteran with bad flashbacks whose present life suddenly gets very weird. In The Jacket, Adrian Brody plays a Gulf War veteran with bad flashbacks who suddenly gets transported 15 years into the future. I don't want to give too much away but Brody's character ends up in an insane asylum where he is treated by a bad doctor (Kris Kristofferson) and a good doctor (Jennifer Jason Leigh). The bad doctor treats Brody by strapping him into a strait jacket and putting him in a morgue drawer. It is when he is in The Jacket that he travels to the future. There he meets a troubled young woman (Keira Knightly) who helps him figure out what the hell is going on. Needless to say, men from other time frames are irresistible and Knightly falls for Brody much as Sarah Connor did for Kyle Reese.

      If you just read my review of Bad Education, you know that I've been a bit confused lately but I think I could follow the plot of The Jacket. This movie tries to be a scary, scifi, thriller, romance and maybe that was too much to try for. But it's pretty good. I mean just seeing Kris Kristofferson's face in closeup makes this a horror film! There is a bit of blood and gore since Brody' character keeps getting shot, beat up etc. The plot doesn't make much sense so you just have to believe that Brody is somehow time travelling. But Brody is weird enough that you believe him or at least believe that he's nuts. This is a bit of a different role for Knightly who is still only 19 but is churning out the movies (Bend it Like Beckham, Pirates of the Caribbean, Love Actually, King Arthur). It's a bit jarring when she opens her mouth and out comes an American accent. It takes a bit of getting used to but it's good. It goes along with a movie, supposedly set in New England, that was shot in Scotland and Quebec. Brody and Knightly are an odd couple but it works. By the way, their characters in The Jacket are named Jack and Jackie. Hmmm. The rest of the cast is good too, even scary Kris. Jennifer Jason Leigh is effortless as usual and makes you wish she was on the screen more. Watch for Mackenzie Phillips (American Graffiti) as the bad nurse and Kelly Lynch (Road House) as the bad mother.

      Anyway, The Jacket is a bit of a mess but it's fun to try and guess what all this time travel will do to the future. Every time Brody comes back to the past he does something to change the future so by the end I was expecting Kirk and Spock to appear to kill Joan Collins again.