The Jacket

I can’t remember why I picked up this movie.  It was probably on a list of “psychological thrillers” and was one of the only ones I hadn’t seen yet, since I am partial to them.  It’s possible it got lumped into a sci-fi category somewhere.  Long story short, we really enjoyed this movie, and then I was surprised to discover it got relatively poor ratings overall.  I guess it got a 7 on IMDB and that’s not really so bad.  I do find it a little ironic that almost all of these poor-scoring reviews claim that all the movie does is copy other popular movies, when it was apparently inspired by stories straight from actual inmates, which in turn also inspired a Jack London novel in 1915.  God damn you humans, never doing anything original anymore.

The story is about a former soldier who survived being shot in the head, although he was left with severe memory problems and periodic amnesia, not to mention severe PTSD.  He goes about his merry way after the war, then wakes up on the side of the road next to a gun and a dead policeman.  Unable to remember the details of what happened to prove he is innocent, he is placed in a prison/medical facility for the criminally insane, and soon discovers he has been chosen by one of the doctors for “reprogramming” experiments.  These experiments involve being strapped into a straight-jacket, injected with a cocktail of drugs, and locked in a morgue drawer for hours at a time.

The movie reveals things in bits and spurts.  The main character’s memory works in bits and spurts, so we get flashbacks to things that happened before, as he remembers them.  We also occasionally flash to the other characters and reveal more about the backstory of the hospital and the history of the “reprogramming” program.

During one of his sessions in the morgue drawer, the main character discovers he is actually speaking to people 15 years in the future.  Convinced that he is now actually time travelling, he starts welcoming his trips to the morgue and starts digging around in the future to find the keys to the past.  As a result, he also learns the date he will die… and it is soon.

It’s a bit of a wild ride from that point.  I spent the whole movie figuring I knew what was going to happen, and then it would do something else and I would have to start guessing again.  Calling it a “thriller” is a bit generous (and the poster displayed on wikipedia apparently has the tagline “TERROR HAS A NEW NAME”, to which I laaaauuuuggghhhhhh)… IMDB has it listed as a Drama/Sci-Fi/Mystery which feels accurate, and it’s definitely a good mysterious story that keeps you wondering where its going.  If you want to sit down with a notepad I’m sure you can pick some huge holes in this thing.  There are plenty of plotlines that don’t really seem to do much in the end, almost as if they’re laid down to act as red herrings as the story unfolds, and I don’t even want to think about things from a plausibility angle.  The ending is probably a little bit unfulfilling, too.  Everything is wrapped up, but there are a some big questions that don’t feel very answered – but they’re questions that you as the viewer most likely came up with while watching, not questions the movie posed directly.

The few minor flaws aside, I think it’s an excellent use of 103 minutes.

About tagracat
I am not a professional, I don't get paid to review shit, I am just opinionated and I seem to have some sort of disorder that results in spewing my opinions onto the internet. I enjoy writing long-winded posts about things and sometimes I like to pretend people want to read them, so a blog seemed an appropriate place to stuff it. But mostly I just like writing about things.

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