starring Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, Jennifer Jason Leigh
screenplay by Massy Tadjedin
directed by John Maybury
by Walter Chaw Lyrical, dislocated, and grim in the fashion of a Derek Jarman film (and director John Maybury served as editor on Jarman's The Last of England), The Jacket, like Altered States, Miracle Mile, Jacob's Ladder, and 12 Monkeys before it, is the sort of doom-filled genre romance that's regularly underestimated in popular contemporary conversation. Peter Deming (the cinematographer on David Lynch's Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive and on the Hughes Brothers' From Hell) shoots the film in a straightforward, beautifully-(under)lit fashion that is equally adept at underscoring the claustrophobia in some sequences and the breathless expanse of others. A scene where Adrien Brody, as Gulf War I vet Jack Starks, wanders away from his loony bin down a long tunnel in a Robert Frost wood and Dr. Lorenson (Jennifer Jason Leigh) stumbles after him demonstrates both, with Deming painting a beautiful landscape from paint pots full of bleak, oppressive isolation. Scored lightly by a series of Brian Eno compositions, The Jacket is an apocalyptic poem of love and loss that's unusually wise about its visual vocabulary--about ways of looking, the line between dreaming and reality, and how eyes on film can be a powerful and elastic metaphor for the audience engaged in a kind of liquid dreaming.