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Sun February 27, 2005
A wax museum knock off.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
"It comes o'er my memory,
As doth the raven o'er the infected house,
Boding to all . . . ." Shakespeare's Othello
I am as intrigued by time travel as the next critic and even more about the games memory plays. I established my credentials by extolling Memento, as convoluted a trip down memory lane as a film could be. Memento keeps attention to details at premium and jarring quick cuts at minimum to result in an intriguing treatise on memory's imperfection and our bondage to time.
The Jacket needs its own straight jacket to keep it focused for the attention span of an audience that has to wait far too long to get directions to where Jack Starks (Adrien Brody) is going, into the past or the future or both and why. He has suffered a Gulf War trauma (think Manchurian Candidate) leading to experiments performed by off-center Dr. Becker (Kris Kristofferson) that mainly put Jack inside a morgue holding slot.
The hospital resembles Hannibal Lecter's lair, another example of how director John Maybury borrows without updating and without favorable comparison. Jack's visions of the future are disturbing both about himself and those close to him, such as Jackie Price (Keira Knightley), a child he helps at one time and becomes closer to at another, when she's a 20 something waitress.
So don't be disappointed because you thought immediately that Jack could change the past, as if you were the first one to speculate about that clich?d dilemma in a film which could be called thriller or horror or comedy depending if you are a geek or discerning film critic. Jacket so wants to be Memento that it ends up being a wax museum knock off, looking good from afar but unreal when up close.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com.