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Review: Two Jacks (2012)

Director: Bernard Rose | 90 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Izabella Miko, Sienna Miller, Billy Zane, Jack Huston, Jacqueline Bisset, Danny Huston, Laura Clery, Hannah Cowley, Lydia Hearst, David Lipper, Jamie Harris, Carly Steel, Richard Portnow, Rosie Fellner, Demetrius Navarro, Julie Marcus, Scott Burn,

Danny Huston (1962), son of the legendary director John Huston (1906-1987), plays the famous film director Jack Husar in ‘Two Jacks’. After some sort of sabbatical in Africa, Jack returns to Los Angeles to secure funding for his latest film. However, no one is waiting for him, literally and figuratively, because the filmmaker sits in vain on the almost deserted airport turning his thumbs until he is picked up. Fortunately for him, he is approached by a young man who recognizes him as his great idol and the reason for pursuing a career as a film producer.

Fanboy Brad (Dave Pressler) not only offers Jack a taxi ride to his hotel, but also does not hesitate to hand over his credit card if it appears that Jack has a large account open there that must first be paid before he is still refused a room. If only he had walked away then, that vicarious shame moment when the egocentric director kicks a scene in the hotel and in the process becomes violent … But no, Brad sees this encounter as his chance for a breakthrough and maneuvers himself into an increasingly dire position. At his request, Jack plus dog moves into his home, and he accompanies Jack on his journey to… yes, what does Jack really want? Money seems to be his main motivation, but at the same time he seems too unmotivated for that. He drinks, argues with his ex-producer Lorenzo, conquers the beautiful young Diana (Sienna Miller), who happens to be Brad’s sister, and through his charisma and famous Hollywood name manages to avoid a fine or even arrest. His charm gets him away with his twisted character, and although you can’t help but disapprove of his behavior, his boundless self-confidence also earns him some degree of sympathy.

About twenty years later, we follow Jack’s son Jack Husar Jr. (Danny’s nephew and John’s grandson Jack Huston), arriving at Los Angeles airport from England. He’s in Tinseltown making his directorial debut, but judging by his air, you’d expect he’s already made at least a dozen box office hits. He doesn’t like the suite assigned to him in the same hotel where his father once made stampei, so when the graceful Lily (Rosie Fellner), not entirely coincidental, daughter of Diana (now played by Jacqueline Bisset, of whom it’s easy to believe) she resembled in younger years), offering him and his screenwriter shelter in the house where she lives with her mother and Uncle Brad, he immediately takes a bite. Diana is curious about her lover’s son one night,

‘Two Jacks’ is not the first collaboration of director and Danny Huston, they previously filmed ‘Anna Karenina’ (1997), ‘Ivansxtc’ (2000), ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’ (2008) and ‘Boxing Day’ ( 2012). Just like those films, ‘Two Jacks’ is also a film adaptation of a work by Leo Tolstoy, this time the short story ‘Two hussars’. Rose, who also took care of the script, gives a nice glimpse into Hollywood then and now with ‘Two Jacks’, although it is not entirely clear when exactly that ‘then’ was. In addition, the film of course tells the classic ‘the apple does not fall far from the tree’ story, Jack Jr. follows in his father’s footsteps without being too aware of it.

It is just a shame that the characters do not really undergo further development and that the gullibility of the audience is relied on too much. The Hollywood producer who worked with Jack Senior already had an old head then, what are the chances that now that Jack Junior is making his debut, he is still working? Would there really be several paparazzi ready to make front page news of a filmmaker who has really achieved nothing? After one one night stand, would Diana really still have feelings for her lover? The women in ‘Two Jacks’ come off very poorly, they seem to be willless slaves who yearn for attention and love.

‘Two Jacks’ does look nice. The first part is discolored in such a way that you can call it almost black-white-pastel; the colorful second half of the film therefore has extra impact. The costumes are beautiful and it is of course interesting to see Danny imitate his father, while his nephew copies his movie character again. ‘Two Jacks’ looks good, especially for fans of Hollywood stories, but does not make a lasting impression.

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