The Butterfly Effect
- Eric Bress
- J. Mackye Gruber
- Reviewed by
- Josť Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Evan (Ashton Kutcher) learns at a young age that he suffers from a mental disease he inherited from his father. As it happens, he has blackouts from time to time. After he ďwakes upĒ he canít remember anything that just happened, which makes up for a quite frustrating existence considering his best friend Kayleigh (Amy Smart) is always in danger when surrounded by her abusive brother (William Lee Scott) and father (Eric Stoltz). As Evan grows up he finds a way to remember what really happened during those blackouts, most of which happened during crucial moments in his life that, if changed, could translate into a different future for everyone involved.
The Butterfly Effect took me off-guard. I went into this movie not really knowing what it was about. Yes, thatís true. And credit should go to the people behind its marketing campaign, which didnít need to explain every plot point or twist while promoting the movie. When the movie starts you donít really know whatís going to happen, but you do realize that youíre in for a wild and original experience. Then it starts to unfold even more, and suddenly things start to make sense, although that doesnít mean the movie is predictable, for it is anything but that.
I liked the movie as a successful piece of entertainment with brains. It isnít such a revolutionary thing, but for movies about teens (especially starring Kutcher) this one stands among the best. Perhaps it is because the movie actually makes you think. If youíre in for a lazy time at the movies, this one isnít for you. Youíre required to think, remember and participate in equal measures.
I found the central theme, about how one single event in oneís life can change the future of many, to be fascinating. It isnít the first time itís been tackled onscreen, but the movie does manage to make its point and present a profound look at how fragile oneís destiny can really be. Evan sure was involved in many over-the-top life-changing events, but what really matters is what the movie is trying to say, whether in its most dramatic moments or its more suspenseful ones.
As the movie plays itís difficult to really delve into plot holes, but after watching it youíll be left thinking about this or that. I spotted one that actually bothered me a bit, but in such a complicated movie, I was glad my intelligence was never insulted. It happens when Evan goes back to a scene in which he visits his dad in a mental institution. Evan doesnít really change anything in that scene regarding its outcome, yet his life is completely different once heís back to present day. Also, itís difficult to keep up with the movieís timeline, but ultimately that doesnít matter much, and itís questionable to really think how much Evan really remembers each time around once he comes back from the past. Then again, thereís a plot device at the end concerning some old home videos which I didnít quite buy, for it contradicts a crucial plot element in the movie. Or does it? Who knows! The thing isÖ I enjoyed the movie, period.
Ashton Kutcher gets his chance to play against type and I must say heís only ok. His performance is fitting but nothing more. Amy Smart is more successful essentially playing different versions of the same character. Sheís also gorgeous, which canít hurt. And Melora Walters, as Evanís mom, seemed out of place to me at first, but then she slipped into her role with bravado and made me feel more comfortable with her performance.
By the way, I completely loved the ending!
ďIf I can somehow go back to the beginning of all this, I might be able to save her...Ē
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