In a bizarre turn, The Jacket director John Maybury, a Hollywood newbie, took pot shots at the films that recently won Academy awards, calling Million Dollar Baby a “piece of shit” and complaining about Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing for The Aviator.
He says his new film, starring Adrien Brody and Kiera Knightly, isn’t a tired, formulaic film like those dime-a-dozens like Memento and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind:
“When there are big narrative failings in a piece of storytelling, writers can just shuffle it all up and dump it on someone like me, the director, to try and sort it out. I think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Memento, there’s been a whole raft of these kind of films…I love those kinds of films. But I knew that if I got my hands on that kind of screenplay, it wouldn’t be that anyway. I’ve made a romance that has kind of a subtext of being about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. So I think if I’ve made a much more interesting, a much more demanding film than the general kind of… No, I don’t have contempt for Charlie Kaufman. He’s a brilliant screenwriter as was proved last night at that corporate event.”
A subtext of being about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay…well, he’s got the corporate shill thing down, without actually actually being smart about it. Sure, he’s echoing the party line, but he’s not exactly being original, and his choice of dartboards seems to be a crop of technically and artistically brilliant films. Not what I would call a smart move, especially in a place that forgives little and doesn’t take kindly to unfounded criticism and self-aggrandizement.
Meet John Maybury, the man whose mouth is bigger than his brain. The Jacket opened Friday, March 4.