“2 Jacks”

Susan Granger’s review of “2 Jacks” (Breaking Glass Pictures)


Adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s short novel “Two Hussars” about collapsing cultural values, filmmaker Bernard Rose’s satirical commentary on the Hollywood fantasy falls flat.

Fittingly, it begins monochromatically, introducing legendary director Jack Hussar (Danny Huston) who breezes into Golden Age TinselTown to raise money for his next picture which he says he’s shooting in the Belgian Congo. Obviously penniless, he slyly latches onto a fawning fan, Brad (Dave Pressler). Following in Jack’s wake at a wild industry party, Brad blithely informs the glitterati that he’s Jack’s producer. Eventually, womanizing gambler Jack goes home with Diana (Sienna Miller) but steals off in the middle of the night to stake his future on a poker game.

Decades later – and in full color – Jack’s son, another Jack Hussar (Jack Huston), arrives from London, riding nepotism’s coattails, preparing to direct his first film, and soon Jack Jr.’s romancing Lily (Rosie Fellner), the aspiring actress daughter of now-older Diana (Jacqueline Bisset).

London-born writer/director Bernard Rose (“Candyman,” “Immortal Beloved,” “Mr. Nice”) became a pioneering MTV director and, in recent years, has turned down major studio work in order to make his own films with digital cameras. In addition to the balalaika-accented “2 Jacks,” Rose has also adapted Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” and “Boxing Day.”

FYI: The Huston family is considered Hollywood royalty. Its convoluted genealogy – which is far more interesting than this picture – begins with Oscar-winning Canadian-born, American actor Walter Huston, who fathered Oscar-winning director John Huston who, in turn, fathered Oscar winning actress Angelica Huston. John Huston was married five times. His son, Danny, was fathered out of wedlock with author/actress Zoe Sallis, and his son Tony, an attorney, is the father of Jack Huston, so Jack is Danny’s real-life nephew. Through his maternal grandfather, Jack Huston is descended from the first Prime Minister of Great Britain Robert Walpole, the Treasurer of Baghdad David Sassoon and Mayer Armschel Rothchild, founder of the Rothschild family banking dynasty.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “2 Jacks” is an inconsistent yet reverential 3, a truly
trivial pursuit.