Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Jacket

The Jacket is a 2005 psychological thriller film directed by John Maybury that is partly based on the Jack London novel of the same name, released in the US as The Star Rover. Massy Tadjedin wrote the screenplay based on a story by Tom Bleecker and Marc Rocco. The original music score is composed by Brian Eno and the cinematography is by Peter Deming.

The Jacket shares its title, and the idea of a person experiencing extra-corporeal time-travel while in an intolerably tight straitjacket, with a 1915 novel by Jack London. The novel was published in the United Kingdom as The Jacket and in the United States of America as The Star Rover. Director Maybury has said that the film is "loosely based on a true story that became a Jack London story." (The true story is that of Ed Morrell, who told London about San Quentin prison's inhumane use of tight straitjackets).

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Writes Roger Ebert: The director, John Maybury, made "Love Is the Devil" (1998), a film about the British artist Francis Bacon, whose portraits of his subjects often seemed to catch them in their post-"Scream and Scream Again" periods. It was a perceptive, good film. In "The Jacket" you can sense an impulse toward a better film, and Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley certainly take it seriously, but the time-travel whiplash effect sets in, and it becomes, as so many time travel movies do, an exercise in early entrances, late exits, futile regrets. If there is anything worse than time creeping in its petty pace from day to day, it would be if time jumped around. Better to die at the end, don't you think, than randomly, from time to time?

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