8:00 PM, 27th August, 2004
The title is a reference to what many consider the basis of Chaos Theory - that an event as small as the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil may, through a chain of events, set off a tornado in Texas. In the film this idea is applied to the life of Evan (Kutcher), a young man with a troubled past who discovers he has the ability to change those events. Of course altering the past will change the future in more ways than anyone can predict, a lesson which Evan learns quickly...
I almost wrote this film off without seeing it - Kutcher in his first dramatic role, and a trailer and promotion which had me expecting a contrived Hollywood time travel tale. I was surprised to find a very different film. The Butterfly Effect is a much deeper and much darker journey, which takes a unique approach to the time alterations central to its storyline.
Bress & Gruber have created an intriguing story which takes some very un-Hollywood twists. Kutcher is solid and the remaining cast is excellent, particularly Smart whose character undergoes extreme changes as the past is altered. As with any film playing with time, suspension of disbelief is a must - but this is the movies right? The Butterfly Effect is at times uncomfortable, at times intriguing and a very enjoyable film throughout.
10:14 PM, 27th August, 2004
Memento was only Nolan's second feature-length film, but has already cemented him a place in the hearts of millions of filmgoers. Adapting the story from a short fiction written by his brother, Nolan attempted to create a film which told a story backwards - first telling the audience how things ended and then gradually introducing them to the events leading to it. Similar ideas had been attempted previously, but never with much success.
Leonard (Pearce) suffers from anterograde amnesia, a condition he has suffered from since an attack on himself and his wife. This condition removes the ability of the brain to store memory, and Leonard remembers nothing since the incident. In place of memory he has an elaborate system of photographs, notes and tattoos which allow him to survive this nightmarish existence. As Leonard tells us, surviving only because of his singular purpose - to track down and kill the attacker who killed his wife and left him in this state.
By telling the story in short vignettes in reverse order, Nolan is able to twist the story the way no other director can. The audience is riding with Leonard - experiencing the present without knowing the past. The result is a film which asks a lot of the viewer's own memory as we piece together both the true nature of the events and Leonard's own interpretation. If you haven't seen it yet you will be confused, surprised and entertained. If you have seen it, a second viewing will be a very enriching experience.