Movie Poster
The Butterfly Effect
Eric Bress & J. Mackye Gruber
Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz, William Lee Scott, Elden Henson, Ethan Suplee, Melora Walters, Nathaniel de Veaux
113 min.


This was two changes away from being a really good movie. Acting and dialogue. Don't get me wrong, both were adequate. Ashton Kutcher was better than he had any right to be. And the dialogue only makes you cringe at a couple points.

Absurdly violent (it is from the director of Final Destination 2) and perpetually downbeat (unfortunately, in exactly the way Ashton Kutcher fans will be able to tolerate), the premise transcends all setbacks to make this one of the more interesting movies of the last six months. But with a really good cast, and a more consistent script this could have been a candidate for 2004 top ten lists. Or the whole project could have been given to someone like Wim Wenders or Terry Gilliam and been a classic (or given to someone like Michael Bay or Steven Spielberg and ruined altoghether).

Many reviews have cited, among other reasons, excessive gore for the poor ratings they give Butterfly Effect. Unfortunately this is overstating the case. There is excessive gore hinted at, but we don't (despite what the Minneapolis Star-Tribune might lead you to believe) actually get to see the baby blow up. We are, however, given enough of this tease-gore to make it entertaining on those grounds.

While I'm not sure the "time-travel" logic makes sense, its convoluted and outlandish enought that it doesn't really matter. The cinematic equivalent of the the blackouts Ashton Kutcher experiences are effectively used and do a good job of creating the creepy mood the movie sustains through its first half. I suppose there's stuff to gripe about, but when a movie is this much better than it has any right to be, it seems unfair. If you expect Brazil, you'll be disappointed, but if you're expecting Final Destination 3, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Pat Jackson