Film - Two Jacks

2 Jacks

Chris Smith puts on his best Hollywood poker face and watches Two Jacks, out on DVD and VOD on Monday 29th...

When Brad meets the legendary director, Jack Hussar, at an airport, he immediately sees a chance at a once-in-lifetime collaboration. He bails Jack out of an outstanding hotel bill and then invites him into his home before trying to secure funding for Jack's latest project. In gratitude, Jack has a dalliance with Brad's sister, Diana, before skipping town. 20 years later and Brad is inviting Jack Hussar's son - also trying to shoot a film - into the home he shares with Diana and her daughters. Lost in the shadow of his father, Jack must navigate the same pitfalls of shady backers and beautiful women while others wonder if the two men, separated by a generation, share a spark of genius - or just the same penchant for trouble.

An intriguing adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's The Two Hussar's, Bernard Rose's Two Jacks finds its feet early on before staggering towards an abrupt end. Its characterisation is weak, the sound gaudy, and the dialogue is at times simply impossible to hear. Jack Senior is fawned over by adoring fans both within the industry and out but no evidence of this is seen - just his lechery and arrogance. Brad is a puppy, so transfixed is he with his hero that he's oblivious to being used. Jack Junior is demanding and spoiled, using his father's name as a birthright. The film is droll, shallow and at times, outright boring.

But yet.

Two Jacks, like many films that focus on filmmaking "behind the camera", is honest about Hollywood. Its parties are full of drunk sycophants while its films are funded over illicit games of poker by men who demand parts for their young, nubile girlfriends as a prerequisite. A director's reputation is far more valuable than any idea he may have and usable as currency long after the money has run out. Jack Senior is a pig, a sponge and a drunk. His son is little better. Two Jacks never reveals what either man is or might be capable of, only how they treat others and as such, this film can be interpreted as a scathing caricature of the people Rose has associated with during his own career.

To his credit, Rose's direction is superb and his reusing of location is perfect, thematically. The son follows in the father's footsteps literally and metaphorically. The film's opening and closing shots are identical, beautifully book ending the story while bringing the titular two Jacks together. It is these carefully crafted moments that elevate the work.

True, at first glance, this is a poorly-acted and needlessly wordy film but if time is spent carefully considering it, a strong, biting commentary will be uncovered.

Image - Clout Communications

The film will be released in the UK on DVD and Download simultaneously on June 29, through TriCoast Worldwide, Movie Partnership (Digital) and Fusion Media Sales (DVD).