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Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon

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The Jacket

The human mind is a deep and complex organ that to this day is not fully understood by the best scientific minds on the planet. It is known that only a small percentage of the mind is actually used, with the vast majority of the unused portion presenting a mystery. There are those who have suggested that those individuals who show paranormal abilities are simply individuals who have learned to use areas of the brain that are normally dormant.

In the new psychological thriller The Jacket, Adrian Brody plays Jack Starks, a Gulf war soldier who is shot in the head in 1991 during combat operations.

Jack survives this ordeal as he awakens during medical triage despite being classified as dead by the attending medics. Flash forward to late 1992, and Jack is on his way to Canada through a cold and remote section of Vermont It is learned that Jack has some mental blocks in his head via a series of flashbacks, but when he comes to the aid of a stranded motorist and her young daughter, Jack soon finds his life taking an unexpected turn.

Despite being a good Samaritan, Jack is forced to accept a ride from a passing drifter miles later, when the mother refuses to assist him. Flash forward again and Jack is being charged with the murder of a police officer who Jack insists was killed by the man who picked them up. Since Jack has a mental condition, his claims of the driver who picked him up are dismissed as mental delusions.

Jack is committed to a mental institution where under the treatment of Dr. Becker (Kris Kristofferson), Jack is bound in a straight jacket and locked in a storage shelf in the basement morgue. While in the box, Jack travels 17 years into the future where he is reunited with Jackie (Kiera Knightley), the little girl he helped years earlier. Jackie has fallen upon hard times and refuses to believe that the person before her is the same Jack Starks who helped her years ago, as she claims that Jack Starks died years ago in the asylum.

As Jack comes in and out of treatment his perception of the events in the box comes into question due to his condition, and only the supportive Dr. Lorenson (Jennifer Jason Leigh), seems sympathetic to his concerns that he is going to die in the next few days.

The film jumps between the past, present, future where Jack attempts to uncover what happened to him with the help of Jackie so that he can try to prevent it from happening or at the very least, make the future a better place for those in the past who can avoid their fates.

The strength of the film is the solid work by the two leads as Brody and Knightley work well with one another and infuses their characters with compassion and humanity while showing their flaws as they attempt to deal with the hardships of their situations.

While some may take exception to the dark tone of the film, I preferred to look at the interesting twists to the story and how the film makes you think and interpret situations and outcomes rather than handing it to the audience in a tidy package.

4 stars out of 5


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