Here is my review of The Butterfly Effect. Disclaimer: this was written an hour after I left the film so I have not had a chance to “sit with the film.” best Jason
It is never a good sign when a room from of press people at Sundance start laughing during the last 15 minutes of your film, but that was the case with The Butterfly Effect. Although Butterfly has an amazing first hour the film becomes monotonous and repetitive for the last hour.
Clearly film critics at Sundance came in with a chip on their shoulder as they filed into a packed 50-seat showing of the film staring Ashton Kutcher. Sundance critics like indie celebs but not Hollywood celebs in their indie films. So, somewhere in the middle of the film someone started laughing at all the horror and time machine clich? and by the last fifteen long minutes the laughter spread to half the audience. The problem was people were not laughing at some of the light moments in the middle of this extremely dark filmthey were laughing during the suspenseful parts!
[ Warning: Spoilers Follow ]
Butterfly’s premise is good: a young man can change his horrible past by reading from his childhood journals. The horrible childhood is outlined in a series of graphic, suspenseful vignettes that are as scary as, and evocative of, moments in The Shining, The Sixth Sense, The Omenand The Exorcist.
Butterfly is horrific for much of time, with the audience being exposed to a child pornography filming, a dog being burned alive, a mother and baby being blown up by dynamite, prison rape as well as multiple brutal beatings being carried out and delivered to children. If it’s horrible andif it’s scary, then it’s in this film.
Kutcher’s character suffers from mysterious blackouts that plagued his father who is, of course, in a mental institution. In classic detective fashion Kutcher’s character tries going back in time to try and fix things, but like the “butterfly effect” in chaos theory, his little actions have magnified results. Things get worse and he has to go back over and over again.
The first half of the film has a fantastic pace, is well-acted and the screenplay is very tight. Then after the third or fourth time Kutcher uses his supernatural power to change things you’re worn out and you start to not care about the resolution which is totally obvious.
Bottom Line: If you’re like me and you loved the following films then you will like the Butterfly effect: Memento, the Sixth Sense, the Ring, Identity, Run Lola Run andThe Omen. The Butterfly Effect tries really hard to put itself in the class of those films but falls just short due to the meandering second half.