The Jacket is an impressive and rather controversial film that raises such extraordinary issues as the impotence of psychiatric patients, shell shock and fear of death.
The movie combines thriller, detective story, drama and even mysticism. All this forms an inexpressible impression that falls on the viewer with unexpected force.
What is the movie about
The Jacket itself begins with fragments of footage from the war in Iraq: incomprehensible, and impressive. An Iraqi boy is carrying something. The soldier, wanting to help, yells “Hey” to him, offering to help. And gets a bullet in the forehead from a frightened child.
Frame change. The man – the main character, who was shot, is walking along a snow-white road. Suddenly, one car drives past the wanderer. She stops, and a drugged woman falls out of the car. She is unable to walk or even speak. Behind her comes a frightened little black-haired girl. The man – Jack Starks, reassures the baby, seeing that he cannot get anything from his mother, and gives her his army badge – a plate with the name and date of birth, which is given in case of death. Jack helped the girl start the car. Mom, having come to her senses, decides that the stranger – some kind of pervert pestering her daughter, shrieks him away, gets into the car and leaves.
Veteran, move on. He comes across another car – a former prisoner is sitting in it: “believe me, prison is worse than any war.” And, unexpectedly, the car is stopped by a policeman.
Frame change. Jack Starks sits on the dock, he is accused of murder, but he does not remember anything. No one condemns him: a person who has experienced such a thing in the war can easily be moved by the mind. Jack can’t say anything for or against: he doesn’t remember what happened.
The next frame – the main character is in a strange mixture of prison and mental hospital. During the night, Jack is suddenly led into the basement against his will. Several strong men push the man into a strange structure – a straitjacket that completely deprives the patient of the ability to move – and lock him in a closet. It looks strangely like the one where the corpses are kept in the morgues.
The most interesting and at the same time mysterious thing that happens to the hero: for the second time, getting into the “box”, he finds himself in a place and time unknown to him: he meets a charming, but shabby girl, and she offers him help. A stranger invites him to spend the night with her – without vulgar hints. And Jack, looking around her apartment, realizes: This girl was that girl.
It turns out that Jack Starks died in 1993, some time after they first met. And now it’s 2007.
So, getting into the box for “inappropriate” behavior, Jack finds himself in the near future. But Jack disappears in 2007 for a reason: he knows he will die in four days. And his task is to find out who will kill him.
The problem of impotence in psychiatric patients
“Jacket” touches on many burning topics. Each of which plays a specific role in modern society.
What is the difference between a healthy person and a crazy person? Only a doctor can say that. Also, doctors can lie. The psychiatrist knows the most delicate strings of the human soul and can pull them like a puppeteer – and he can pull in any direction, remaining unpunished. No one will ask the opinion of the patient – he is insane. And his cries and requests to stop – they are trying so hard for him! He just doesn’t know what’s best for him. But the doctors know. This was what Dr. Thomas, who supervised this “living burial,” was convinced of.
The theme of love in the film
All problems and hardships remain in the background when Jack begins to feel something for a frightened girl from the future. He no longer strives to get out of the clinic, to restore justice. He only wants to be with her. This is probably why, having learned the truth, Jack does not try to get out, on the contrary, he strives to return to the box, believing that there he will meet the beautiful Jackie again.
The problem of hate
By depriving Jack of the opportunity to respond to insults and blows, conducting experimental treatment without the consent of the patient, Dr. Thomas makes himself an enemy in the person of the protagonist. Therefore, knowing how he was treated, seeing the composure and cruelty of the attending physician, Jack was firmly convinced that Dr. Thomas was his killer. The viewer also believes in it. But meeting him many years later to express all his resentment, Jack discovers a completely different person: a quiet, believing old man returning from church. He sincerely repents of what he has done. So we see how hatred obscures the eyes of the main character.
The film claims to cover a multitude of burning topics – from the minds of soldiers who fought in Iraq to parental responsibility. He makes an attempt to make the viewer think. But, probably, if the director and screenwriter had followed one or two ideas, The Jacket would have turned out to be more impressive and unambiguous.