Bernard Rose's fourth ultra-low-budget Tolstoy adaptation suffers from a slack narrative and abysmal dialogue.
Casting Danny Huston and nephew Jack Huston as father-and-son filmmakers on two sides of a stark generational divide is the only inspired element of “2 Jacks,” Bernard Rose’s fourth ultra-low-budget Leo Tolstoy adaptation. While digital filmmaking has evolved significantly since Huston and Rose first collaborated on 2000’s “Ivansxtc,” the same can’t be said for Rose’s faux-New Wave style. Negligible interest awaits in simultaneous theatrical and VOD release.
Liberally cribbing from Tolstoy’s early short story “Two Hussars,” “Jacks” opens in the 1990s as cigar-chomping auteur Jack Hussar (Danny Huston, sly yet monotonous) seeks financing in a heightened Hollywood — where women dress like ‘20s starlets and final cut is gambled over poker. He beds a feisty widow (Sienna Miller) and disappears. Some 20 years later, Jack Jr. (Jack Huston, energetic but empty) repeats the cycle less successfully, symbolic of the soulless age of smartphones. Slack narrative and abysmal dialogue render the vague generational satire meaningless to anyone unfamiliar with Tolstoy’s work (and depressing to those in the know). Supporting performances range from forgettable to obnoxious, and tech credits — including Rose’s scattershot handheld camerawork — are wanting.
Film Review: ‘2 Jacks'
Reviewed online, Chino Hills, Calif., Oct. 17, 2013. Running time: 90 MIN.
A Breaking Glass Pictures release of a Rough Diamond production. Produced by Julia Verdin. Executive producer, Danny Huston. Co-producers, Matthew Dean, Ric W. Smith. Co-executive producers, Anthony Verdin, Anne Marie Verdin, John Verdin.
Directed, written, edited by Bernard Rose, based on “Two Hussars” by Leo Tolstoy. Camera (color, HD), Rose; music, Iryna Orlova, Anatoliy Mamalyga, Billy Morrison; production designer, Bradd Wesley Fillmann; costume designer, Julia Clancey; sound, Alexandra Daniels; supervising sound editor, Eric Raber; re-recording mixer, Chris Salmassy; stunt coordinator, Matt Anderson; line producer, Ric W. Smith; associate producer, Jennifer Morrison; assistant director, Vernon Scott.
Danny Huston, Jack Huston, Sienna Miller, Jacqueline Bisset, Richard Portnow, Dave Pressler, Jamie Harris, Rosie Fellner, Izabella Miko, Scarlett Kapella, Lydia Hearst, Billy Zane.