"To know virtue," the Marquis de Sade once said, "we must first acquaint ourselves with vice." While the controversial writer was not referring to The Jacket when he said that many years ago, it fits well with my assessment of the film, nonetheless. The Jacket's hostility will make stomachs churn and faces cringe, but a noble cause justifies the means in the end; because of the film's hostility, when tenderness ultimately appears, it's all the more poignant. But will thin-skinned viewers be able to endure the disturbing imagery until the affectionate, optimistic persona reveals itself?

Macabre, intense, and daring, The Jacket is like a surrealistic nightmare interlaced with an unambiguous daydream fantasy; it totters between asylum and insanity, pain and pleasure, and heaven and hell. Part romantic drama, time travel odyssey, murder mystery, and gothic thriller, the film never decides on a definite genre, and is similar in some ways to experimental films like Donnie Darko and Blue Velvet. Due to its unique design, the less viewers know about the plot before they see it, the more absorbing and revealing the film will be. Thus, a very vague synopsis follows:

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