The opening sequence of “The Jacket,” may have you wondering if you are in the right theater.
As an unexpected war sequence flashes on the screen, it might not be one of the first times confusion strikes while watching the film.
The main character in the movie Jack Stark, played by Adrien Brody, doesn’t seem to have much luck in his life, and that might be an understatement.
Fighting in the Gulf War in Iraq in 1991, Stark reaches out to a boy amidst the fighting, who decideds to repay him by shooting him point-blank.
Shockingly, Stark makes it out of the war alive.
On a slow but haunting journey he travels through Vermont, where it seems normal to walk down snow-laden streets with no apparent destination.
He encounters a girl and her drugged-out mother on the side of the road with the burden of a broken down car.
He helps them, and feeling a connection with the little girl, he gives her his dog tags.
The next portion of the movie is rushed through, where he is picked up by a hitchhiker and a cop is killed.
You won’t fully grasp what happens until you see flashbacks later on.
He is then convicted of the crime and is sentenced to a mental asylum.
The scenes in the mental hospital are exhausting and very slow, as disturbing images are prevalent at every corner.
The methods doctors use to supposedly reprogram Stark are not easy to watch, especially if confined small spaces are not something you particularly enjoy.
Stark is placed in a full-body straight jacket contraption, hence the name, “The Jacket.”
He is forced to spend excessive amounts of time in a box-like compartment, like ones at a morgue.
Instead of dwelling on the horrible situation, he decides to use this alone time to his advantage, to time travel.
At first, the purpose of him going to the future, 2007, to be exact, isn’t clear.
When he is in the future, he comes across a lost soul–the little girl he met on that desolate day in Vermont.
Once they realize their connection through well-placed dog tags, he finds out he is going to die and how screwed up this little girl turned out.
Keira Knightley plays the little girl in the future in which she plays a miserable American surprisingly well.
The real star of the movie is Brody, but Knightly brings in some angst that wasn’t brought about through torture, but a messed up childhood.
After Stark realizes he is going to die in four days, he is on a mission to figure out how he dies.
As the time inches closer to his looming death, thinking of ways to come out alive and change the course of history so the little girl doesn’t grow up to be a jaded chain-smoking drunk, is Stark’s mission.
Altered states of consciousness, good acting by Brody and good old-fashioned time travel are the main highlights of this film, but the movie doesn’t seem to deliver to its full potential.
Some of the sequences don’t seem to make sense, and while you might like the ending, you may feel drained and bored with the route that got you there.