‘2 Jacks’ Movie Review – Lots of Potential
Conflict comes in all shapes and sizes. Some conflicts are small, while others are much larger. In the case of Bernard Roses’s (Candyman) 2 Jacks, the conflict stretches from one generation to the next. It explores a very relevant subject – stepping out of someone’s shadow – and it has the potential, when you back away, to cover some very good stuff. However, it never does reach its full potential with an interesting choice of characters and their subsequent characterization.
2 Jacks is loosely based on Leo Tolstoy’s short story “Two Hussars”. In a quick hour-and-a-half, it rushes through the story of two different generations. The first generation involves Jack Hussar, Sr. (Danny Huston), a successful film director who has fallen out of favor and is trying to make a comeback. The second generation involves his son, Jack Hussar, Jr. (Jack Huston), who is trying to make a name for himself despite the legacy that’s been left behind.
A young woman is involved in both stories, the first being Diana (Sienna Miller), who falls in love with Senior. The second happens to be her daughter (Jacqueline Bisset)…who, yes, falls for Junior.
Like I said, it rushes through a story that takes place over an extended period of time. With roughly 45 minutes per person, that doesn’t allow a whole lot of time for the character’s to come into their own. It also doesn’t allow a lot of the conflict to actually develop. The most problematic part, though, is that I don’t really want to have these characters and conflicts come together.
Since most of the characters are ultra-unlikable, 2 Jacks becomes a sort of character and family study that’s just not that interesting. “Interesting” is an important word here, because while storytelling (and filmmaking) isn’t always about crafting perfect characters, it is about crafting characters that are interesting to ride with. When Senior is womanizing other characters and treating them like dog crap, of course we don’t really care what happens – both good and bad – in his life.
With that being said, it is kind of cool that 2 Jacks takes advantage of both their main actors actually being related. Although they’re not father and son, at least they are uncle and nephew. Both of them have found moderate success in the United States, so it’s fun to see the small meta-tinge to the story. Hollywood does love movies about Hollywood, making this adaptation one that seems really great on paper.
Great on paper can sometimes begin its demise. Bernard Rose’s 2 Jacks has a whole lot of potential that is, for the lack of a better term, wasted. It’s a small production about a big story, which has been successful for a whole lot of dramas. However, 2 Jacks isn’t one of these examples because it doesn’t spend enough time developing the characters that are surely needed in an in-depth character drama.
In the end, it’s tough to root for the characters or the movie in general.
2 Jacks is available now in limited release and on Video On Demand. Check out the website for specific theaters.
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