THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT (DIRECTOR’S CUT)


2004

10/10 (Director’s cut)

8/10 (Theatrical Version)

DIRECTOR(S): Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber

Having always being a fan of Time Travel and Science Fiction, I was always keen on seeing this film upon its initial release, seven years ago, now. But for one reason or another, this just didn’t happen, leaving me to watch this on TV a couple of years later.

I was left disappointed. This was mainly because the film was very gritty, at times dower and not what I or many would have expected from a film in this genre. But with repeat viewings and finally watching this version, the Director’s Cut, with a more downbeat and tragic conclusion, I realised that I was wrong.

Yes, this film does not tick the correct boxes for a film of this time, but that is because it is not playing it safe. It is doing what any great groundbreaking films should do and that is to find the truth of the story and tell it, show it and help the audience engage and feel it, in an uncompromising way.

*** SPOILERS ***

The film deals with troubled childhoods of four kids, two of whom grow up to become Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart. (Not literally, of course!) Kutcher’s lead, has the ability to travel back to his own past for brief moments by reading his childhood journals or in some cases, watching home movies or looking at photos.

His intention upon discovering this gift, is to repair some of the damage that these events have cause to the group, who have sustained several traumas and left them in various states of disfunctionality as adults. But, as the metaphor relating to Chaos Theory states, “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” Philip Merilees:

We witness several distinct changes in then present as a result of his tampering and this often results in more pain, in one way or another.

This is a gripping film, with a true sense of itself, philosophy and needs of the narrative to justify its own dower conclusions, and ultimately, Kutcher’s final decisions.

The sound design, cinematography general direction are outstanding here, with power use of all the key elements to give us a naturalistic feel, not dis-similar from something that Steven Spielberg might produce.

The Theatrical Cut was good, but this version is superior, with a new and more appropriate ending more in keeping the with the general tone of the film, this should be a true Sci-Fi classic, in the same league as the likes of “Planet Of The Apes”, “The Day The Earth Caught Fire” and in to a lesser extent, this being a more widely accepted addition, “Donnie Darko”.

Highly recommended.

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