The Butterfly Effect
Director's Cut, Infinifilm Edition
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Butterfly Effect, The (DVD)
Ashton Kutcher stars as a man who has lost track of time. From an early age, crucial memories have disappeared into a black hole of forgetting, his childhood marred by terrifying events he can't remember. What remains are the ghost of a memory and the terrifying broken lives of his childhood friends ... and an awareness that, somehow, he's responsible in The Butterfly Effect. Throughout his childhood Evan Treborn (Kutcher) was under the care of a psychologist, who encouraged him to keep a journal. Now in college, Evan reads his journal and finds himself thrust suddenly, inexplicably back in time. Determined to correct the tragic events of his youth, Evan alters the past in hopes of transforming the present. But every time Evan makes a change, he returns to a present transformed by unexpected and disastrous consequences of his actions.]]>
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The Butterfly Effect takes the allegedly simpler task of one small life and the small circle of friends who he may or may not have impacted. Yet, the implications of one small change -- one butterfly-wing-sized change -- are shown to radically change the lives of that small circle of friends. This movie masterfully chose to not try to make this story about world events or end-times events. This choice actually intensifies the power-punch of the story, or should I say, "stories."
Some may see in this movie a statement that we are only a product of our circumstances. My title for this review refers to The Three Stooges (ugh, sorry ladies) episodes in which two professors make a bet that those three guys cannot be made into gentlemen by their environment being altered. (I'll let you guess whether they were changed.) Nevertheless, this movie does not claim this.
I find the statement of this movie to be two-fold.
First, it is saying that if you knew what has gone on in someone's life, perhaps you would be more compassionate toward them.
Second, if you had to choose between you being blessed and your friends/family being in ruin, or you being a handi-capped, gimped, overlooked has-been while your friends/family are blessed, which would you choose?? Gotta confess, this put me in tears.
I won't spoil it by saying more about the plot.
My only complaint of the movie was that the first few minutes of acting seemed wooden, as if the shrink and mother were reading their lines. Not only did they get better, but the acting, casting and camera-work in this movie are top-drawer. The script must have been challenging, and I'd love to give it 6 stars! The writer even handled the challenge of; how do you play out (for the viewer) so many different life scenarios, without the movie being 5-6 hours long? I'll let you see how they did it. And it worked!
As for the difference between the ending in the director's cut v. standard VHS, I think the director's cut is a sign of lack of bravery. The viewer wants a solution, not a cop-out. The video ending is stunning, emotive, and leaves me wanting Butterfly II!