A rather strange mix of blunt psychological thriller with low-key science fiction, “The Jacket” is certainly the biggest mindf**k of a film this year that demands its viewers undivided attention and a strong ability to simply go with the film’s central premise despite its many silly and confusing U-Turns.
Much like “12 Monkeys” without the budget or dark satire, this is a gritty arthouse style flick exploring time travel and how past actions can affect future outcomes. Its what you would call a slow-burn thriller, taking us through Brody’s rough disintegration due to two violent events before his treatment at the hands of the unethical Kris Kristofferson.
What til that point has been a rather brutal but believable story suddenly finds itself 15 years in the future with a grown up version of a girl briefly seen in the second event that lead to his confinement. From here on it becomes a quirkly little tale with various minor twists and mysteries that try (and sadly fail) to establish suspense, made only worse by the film’s lacking on the action front.
Somewhat introspective and indulgent, ‘Jacket’ is filled with a variety of things ranging from the good (questioning whether this is all happening) to the bad (various misdirections). The leads are fine (despite Knightley’s accent) although suffer from a rushed romance subplot, whilst Brody seems to be half asleep much of the time (to be fair the character is sedated much of the movie).
Whether you’ll like it or not depends on what you want from this genre. “Jacket” is darker, weirder, harsher, more self-absored and philosophising than most. Its low-key approach and sheer adherence to its somewhat gimmicky central idea will be seen justifiably as an incoherent mess to a lot of audiences. Others won’t be able to get over the slow pace. As much as a lot of thought has gone into this, its the kind that only really the director himself will appreciate.