Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
"Two Jacks" is a story told in two distinct, and distinctive, halves. The first half takes place in a twilight sort of Hollywood of twenty or so years ago, where most of the women are strangely dressed like 1920s flappers, and it is filmed in color that has been so drained that it almost looks like black-and-white. Old school Hollywood director Jack Hussar (Danny Huston) has just returned to LA from location shooting in Africa, where his latest movie has run out of money. Stranded at the airport, Jack falls in with Brad (Dave Pressler), an awkward but ambitious would-be producer who tries to help Jack secure some money to finish his picture.
Jack is clearly modeled on filmmaker John Huston, the father of Danny and the grandfather of Jack Huston, who plays Jack Hussar's son in the second half of "Two Jacks," so this is very much a Huston family affair. When people talk to Jack Hussar about his movies, they keep mentioning a title that sounds like "Haunted Sphere"—or is it "Haunted Spear"? A cop who pulls Jack over for speeding calls this movie "Mystic Spear," and this is a telling example of how director-writer Bernard Rose keeps the details here deliberately vague and dreamy. This is Rose's fourth movie based on a Leo Tolstoy source, but the Hollywood milieu he has chosen takes him fairly far away from any existential Russian agonizing.
Danny Huston doesn't mimic his father's distinctively full-throated, courtly way of talking directly because he doesn't need to; he has his roguish father in his eyes, in his stance, in his bones. "Two Jacks" makes it very clear that Jack Hussar is not a lovable rogue. He leaves hotel bills unpaid. He travels with a large and destructive dog named Orso who likes to rip apartments to shreds. He doesn't particularly care about making movies, but he does love the adventure of shooting them in difficult locations.
Worst of all, he has no love or affection for the beautiful women who keep falling into his lap. Hussar discards them cruelly, as if they are just napkins to wipe his hands on. But he leaves an impression on a young British hopeful named Diana (Sienna Miller), so much so that the older Diana (Jacqueline Bisset), is still thinking about Jack many years later.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
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