ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Butterfly Effect: crackwhores, cellblock bitches
The Butterfly Effect
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart and Ethan Suplee
Directed by: Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber
By Jesse Steiche
Psych major. Frat boy. Amputee. Straight jacket wingnut. Cellblock bitch.
Any one of these identities is cinematic gold in and of itself.
Now imagine taking this list and wrapping it into a single role designed to
facilitate the breakout performance of a mesh-backed fool. Intrigued? If so,
check out Hollywood’s latest psychological thriller, The Butterfly Effect.
Right away, an adrenaline-pumping chase — involving the usual shadow-stained
office space, bouncing flashlights and the panicked writing of a letter alluding
to the story’s eventual twists and turns — morphs into a flashback
of Evan Treborn’s (Kutcher) childhood.
Treborn must deal with his mysterious psychological problems, such as an institutionalized
father and a psychopath for a best friend. The dysfunctional nature of his
youth provides the necessary amount of changeable instances for the plot to
progress. “Change one thing. Change everything,” as the tag line
That is just what Evan does after he discovers his supernatural ability to “heal
the wounds” of his past. Using childhood journal entries, he transports
himself back to the written entry and changes history forever, with very unexpected
and diverse consequences.
Although the concept for the movie is interesting, it’s definitely not
original. Surprisingly, the movie seems to blend together elements of Run Lola
Run with Back to the Future. In fact, it even goes as far as borrowing the
former’s use of still life photographs to mark the sequence of events.
Even though its cinematic technique may not be original, it acts as a fairly
effective way to tie together the varying plotlines. However, the acceleration
of these images sometimes has a dizzying effect and may leave questions in
regards to the story’s plausibility.
Trying to shed his Dude Where’s My Car image, Kutcher has taken on a
role with lots of elbow room to establish himself as a serious character actor.
Unfortunately, he seems incapable of playing a role which doesn’t involve
getting stoned or “punking” his closest friends in a loud, raucous
manner. In trying to convey a serious performance, he relies too heavily on
eye movements and often mumbles through his lines — perhaps the effects
of too much Ritalin.
Playing Kayleigh Miller, the love interest and driving force behind Evan’s
quest to set things right, Smart demonstrates her versatility as an actress.
Her role extends all the way from sorority girl to crack whore — well,
that isn’t too much of a stretch. Regardless, she does it in style, proving
well worth the various forms of beatings Evan receives in the name of love.
And who doesn’t love a kid who can deliver a line like, “Drop
it or I’ll slit your mother’s throat in her sleep,” with
such conviction that it sends shivers up and down your spin?
This feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach comes from the excellent performance
of silver screen newcomer Cameron Bright, who tackles the role of 13-year-old
psychopath Tommy Miller. The creepiness Bright conveys in his demonic gaze
and speech patterns will definitely make you squirm in your seat.
This movie isn’t for the critical film students out there. But if you’re
somebody who just wants to be entertained, do it up!