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After recuperating from a gunshot wound to the head, Gulf War veteran Jack Starks returns to his native Vermont suffering from Amnesia. When he is accused of murdering a police officer and committed to a mental institution, a physician, Dr. Becker, puts him on a controversial treatment regimen in which Starks is injected with experimental drugs, confined in a straight-jacket, and locked for extended periods in the body drawer of the basement morgue. In his drugged and disoriented state, Starksâ mind propels him into the future, where he meets Jackie, and discovers that he is destined to die in four days. Together, they search for a way to save him from his fate.
For more about The Jacket and the The Jacket Blu-ray release, see the The Jacket Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on September 7, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: John Maybury
Writers: Marc Rocco, Massy Tadjedin
Starring: Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly Lynch, Brad Renfro
» See full cast & crew
The Jacket Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, September 7, 2013
John Maybury's "The Jacket" (2005) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French label ARP Selection. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; standard featurette; and a documentary. In English, with optional French subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
I will intentionally say very little about the plot of John Maybury's film The Jacket and the relationships between the key characters so that you can hopefully have the same type of experience with it I had.
Large portions of the film are comprised of flashbacks. In the first one, which comes immediately after the opening credits disappear, a young soldier (Adrien Brody, The Last Time I Committed Suicide, Bread and Roses) is shot in the head by a kid with a gun. This is the past and the soldier is in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. He is then quickly moved to a large tent where a doctor casually announces that he is dead. Before the doctor moves to the next body, his assistant notices that the soldier's eyes are moving.
A new flashback. Now we know the soldier's name – Jack Starks. It is winter and he is walking on an empty road somewhere in Vermont. A man with a hat driving a station wagon stops and offers to give him a ride to the Canadian border. Shortly after, a state trooper pulls them over. The man with the hat then shoots the state trooper while Starks passes out.
Now we are in what seems to be the present. In a court room, a judge asks Starks to remember exactly what happened after the state trooper appeared. But he can't because his brain is having a difficult time separating the past from the present. The unimpressed judge then announces that Starks is not guilty by reason of insanity.
In a new series of flashbacks we see Starks in an institution for the criminally insane where a doctor (Kris Kristofferson, Heaven's Gate, Convoy) with a drinking problem has perfected an unusual therapy. Starks will be his newest patient.
This film borrows the best from Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Adrian Lyne's Jacob's Ladder, and Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys and creates a modern thriller that truly is in a league of its own. It is the type of film one could see multiple times without ever getting tired of it.
Initially, the film feels somewhat chaotic – the overlapping flashbacks make it quite difficult to tell where the past ends and the present begins. Seeing the action strictly through Starks' eyes also makes the time traveling a bit overwhelming. But the film does have a consistent rhythm and once it becomes obvious everything begins to make perfect sense.
Massy Tadjedin's script is excellent, but without Brody the film would have looked very different. Brody's monologues and struggles to make sense of the chaos around him are sensational. There are entire flashbacks where his facial expressions alone create the unique sense of paranoia that is frequently felt in the film. (You will have to see the entire film to understand why).
Keira Knightley's character transformations are also very good, though the first time she and Brody meet she does look a bit too elegant to be a disillusioned waitress. On the other hand, Kristofferson's doctor cannot possibly be critiqued. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly Lynch, and Daniel Craig's time in front of the camera is limited, but all three manage to impress.
The film is complimented by a terrific ambient soundtrack courtesy of the great Brian Eno.
Note: In 2006, The Jacket was nominated for Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film by The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
The Jacket Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.42:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, John Maybury's The Jacket arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French label ARP Selection.
The high-definition transfer is beautiful. Image depth and clarity are excellent throughout the entire film. Even the extreme close-ups of Jack Starks' eyes look fantastic (quite a few very interesting special effects are used in some of them). Contrast levels are stable. Colors are lush, vibrant, and very healthy. There are no traces of problematic sharpening corrections. Compression is also very good. Lastly, there are absolutely no stability issues whatsoever. To sum it all up, The Jacket looks simply terrific on Blu-ray, clearly the best it ever has on any home video format. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
The Jacket Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray release: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, ARP Selection have provided optional French subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it.
The lossless English track serves the film very well. Brian Eno's beautiful score, in particular, benefits benefits a great deal. Some of the time jumps also have interesting sound effects that are exceptionally well defined (even random noises are very easy to identify). The dialog is always crisp, clean, stable, and very easy to follow.
The Jacket Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Jacket Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Inspired by Erich von Stroheim and Stan Brakhage's work, John Maybury's The Jacket is everything a modern thriller should be - very original, very stylish, and beautifully lensed. I had a great time with it. The film is now available on Blu-ray in France courtesy of the always reliable ARP Selection. If you could play Region-B "locked" discs, I strongly encourage you to consider adding this release to your collections. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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The Jacket Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Jacket Blu-ray - August 5, 2013
French label ARP Sélection has officially announced and detailed its upcoming Blu-ray release of John Maybury's The Jacket (2005), starring Adrien Brody, Daniel Craig, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Kelly Lynch. The release will ...
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