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The Butterfly Effect (2004)
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Review Date: January 20, 2004
Director: Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber
Writer: Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber
Producers: Chris Bender, A.J. Dix
Actors:
Ashton Kutcher
Amy Smart
Melora Walters
Plot:
A troubled young boy with memory issues is confronted with his past when he gets to college and starts remembering some of the nasty stuff that went down around him during his youth. When a traumatic event zaps his mind even more, the guy is suddenly able to transport himself back into moments from his past, change them for the better and return to the present with updates to his life as a result. Unfortunately, one alteration affects another and as he tries to repair his past, his present and future suffer even more.
Critique:
An original movie that fools around with the concepts of time, memory, fate and consequences in ways that make them entertaining, thoughtful, sad and loving, all at the same time. I enjoy movies like this because they actually dare to try something different, which is inspiring in this day and age. Sure, the film's laced with certain elements from a few other movies including THE CROW, MEMENTO, FINAL DESTINATION and heck, even BACK TO THE FUTURE 2, but at its core, its well-crafted and original in many ways, establishing a great set-up, developing a firm grasp on its characters early on and methodically messing around with their realities, their pasts and consequently, their futures. Credit the two writers/directors on this project for sticking to their guns all the way through and not "fluffing" shit up either. There's some nasty stuff that goes down in this film, but just like in real life, it's gotta be dealt with and running away from real issues isn't going to help anyone. Kudos also go out to Ashton Kutcher, who I was curious to see in this film's darker, lead role and surprised to see impress me so much. If Kutcher chooses his future projects in the same manner as he did this one (try different things, mix things up), he may just have a decent career ahead of him as a "serious" actor, as well as a comedic one.

The film takes a little time to get going with a good half hour concentrating on the lead characters' early lives as children and teenagers, but it's all connected to the later scenes, so pay attention because it all comes together in the end. The kids playing the younger parts were also very good, as was Eric Stoltz in yet another scuzzy role (love the drink). What really hooked me about this film was its basic concept though, that being the idea of one being able to change one's past, in order to "fix" one's present or future. I think a lot of people are going to be able to connect to this premise because we would all love to have second chance at various crossroads from our lives, so the idea of legitimately altering a moment from our past, is an intriguing one. It's also presented in such a way that I was able to buy it (at least, for the film's purposes). I also appreciated the film's dark, grungy feel, which added to its consistently ominous atmosphere. It also needs to be said that this isn't a "happy go lucky" movie whatsoever and is actually quite depressing at times with stints in prison, prostitution, mental problems, child abuse, violence and various other negative societal elements permeating its fabric. This isn't MY BOSS' DAUGHTER 2, folks. The film's conclusion is also somewhat ambiguous, which I tend to appreciate, especially in cases like this one in which fate plays a big part. Bottom line: even if we were able to change our pasts, destiny would ultimately find its way back into our lives, one way or another. The first "must see" movie of the year.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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5:45PM on 01/08/2006

Film has very high potential.

The Butterfly Effect doesn't really feel new, but somehow it is new. A very unlikeable character(Ashton Kutcher) is able to go back in time and save his friends by using his mind. Something like this feels like a long lost episode of The Twilight Zone being converted to cinematic viewing. This dramatic sci - fi certainly delivers the thrills and all of the hard core drama, but not anything else. It's dialouge, plus its script has been very well thought out and planned. The thing I hated
The Butterfly Effect doesn't really feel new, but somehow it is new. A very unlikeable character(Ashton Kutcher) is able to go back in time and save his friends by using his mind. Something like this feels like a long lost episode of The Twilight Zone being converted to cinematic viewing. This dramatic sci - fi certainly delivers the thrills and all of the hard core drama, but not anything else. It's dialouge, plus its script has been very well thought out and planned. The thing I hated most about this film was Kutcher's typicall character. He always plays a very dislikeable cocky guy we don't give a care about.
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