The Jacket

Director: John Maybury
Screenwriters: Tom Bleecker, Massy Tadjedin

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


John Maybury's highly anticipated second feature film is a haunting and sensual psychological thriller that tracks a military veteran's journey through a Möbius maze of life and death. Beautifully rendered, dramatically enthralling, and intellectually stimulating, The Jacket proves Maybury's enormous talent for focusing his skills as a painter and experimental filmmaker on the craft of storytelling.

Jack Starks (Adrien Brody) seems to have a date with destiny as he miraculously escapes death on the Gulf War battlefield and returns to his native Vermont. Unfortunately, Starks's war scar is amnesia, a condition that prevents him from defending himself when he's accused of murder. He lands in an asylum, where Dr. Becker (Kris Kristofferson) is developing an experimental treatment to alter criminal behavior involving a drug cocktail and straightjacketed visits to a body drawer in the basement morgue. The treatment transports Starks through time, where he finds love with Jackie (Keira Knightley). He also foresees his death, and as he traverses back and forth through time, he wonders what can be done to unlock his and others' doomed destiny.

Maybury's signature aesthetic of hypnotic quick cuts and eerie, lingering tableaus endows this intelligent, heroic journey penned by Massy Tadjedin with wraithlike energy. Warm, human performances by a fantastic cast top off the effort and make The Jacket an indelible consideration of our opportunities to mold our own fate.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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