A satirical adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's short story "Two Hassars," Bernard Rose's 2 Jacks is his fourth Tolstoy adaptation and had its world premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival. Not far removed from some of Henry Jaglom's recent cinematic efforts, 2 Jacks is a stylish and stylized glimpse into Hollywood past and present.
Legendary film director Jack Hussar (Danny Huston, American Horror Story: Coven and The Aviator) represents retro Hollywood as he returns to tinseltown to raise financing for his next film and along the way seduces the beautiful Diana (Sienna Miller, Factory Girl and Stardust), hits some industry parties, has a near run-in with the law, and plays a high-stakes poker game all before dawn.
Jack Hussar Jr. (Jack Huston, Boardwalk Empire and Kill Your Darlings) arrives in Hollywood in many ways a mirror image of his father and primed for his directorial debut while, not so coincidentally, also attracting the attention of a now older Diana's (Jacqueline Bisset, The Deep and Casino Royale) smitten daughter.
With a supporting cast that includes Billy Zane (Titanic), Izabello Miko (Yellow, Clash of the Titans), Lydia Hearst (The Last International Playboy), and Richard Portnow (Hitchcock), 2 Jacks is very likely to be one of those films that you either surrender to yourself to or you find yourself rolling your eyes.
The film, which had a successful festival run, is being served up by indie distributor Breaking Glass Pictures with packaging that includes a behind-the-scenes featurette and footage from film festival Q&A's. While the film isn't entirely successful, it's quite easy to understand what drew Rose to the project and why he was able to attract such top-notch talent to the project. Beyond his already having a successful history in bringing Tolstoy's works to the big screen, Rose clearly has insight into how to interpret and bring to life the classic author.
2 Jack is most successful when Danny Huston is on the screen playing an unlikable a**hole whom you simply can't help but actually like. Coming out on home video on the heels of Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar nomination for playing the brash, successful, and corrupt Jordan Belfort, it's hard not to appreciate the fine nuances that Huston gives this guy who belongs in the Belfort family tree.
Said to be the last collaboration between Danny Huston and Bernard Rose, 2 Jacks is a fine way for the two to go out with Huston serving up a memorable and convincing performance.
The music by Iryna Orlova and Anatoliy Mamalyga is an effective constant reminder of the film's roots in Tolstoy, while Rose's obviously intentional decision to inhabit the film's production design in two very distinct styles is momentarily jarring yet ultimately impactful.
For more information on 2 Jacks, visit the Breaking Glass Pictures website linked to under the "Buy This Film" link in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic