Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekend Matinee: CLOAK AND DAGGER

It's Saturday afternoon and if you're anything like me, you need something to keep you busy inside while you avoid all the nasty weather outside. Luckily I have just the thing: CLOAK AND DAGGER.

This is one of those movies that I watched all the time when we I was kid, but that has seemed to drift away as the years went by. Even though I haven't seen it in forever, it was still incredibly familiar, if not just a tad bit creepy on a rewatch.

Okay, so ostensibly the movie is about a young boy who topples some kind of secret terrorist plot with the help of his imaginary best friend, superspy Jack Flack. It's the stuff that all great kid movies are made of, except that this one doesn't have that fun adventure feel to it. Like, to the point that I'm pretty convinced the kid has a psychotic mental breakdown near the end of the movie.

See, the thing is, it's revealed early on that Jack Flack is a representation of what he wants his Dad to be: Strong, smart, and generally heroic. It's also revealed that the kid just recently lost his mother, and it was soon after this traumatic event that ol' Jack started 'showing up'. Clearly this kid is using Jack as a way to deal with his disappointment in his father and the loss of his mother. And then things get weird.

So, while in a stairwell conversing with his invisible father figure, this kid witnesses a murder and is quickly drawn into a complex web of general espionage. Except that every attempt on this kid's life or weird proceeding is only witnessed by him, and as soon as other people show up is quickly debunked. I think this kid was mentally deranged and needed serious psychiatric/drug help.

For those of you that remember this one, you might be thinking that this doesn't hold up because by the start of the third act other people start getting involved and there's a huge, can't-ignore-this-as-fake showdown at an airport. Except all this happens after probably the most traumatic, scarring thing that could happen to this poor kid: His imaginary dad convinces him to kill a dude.

Seriously, check it out:

I don't know what to believe in that scene. Is that dude really threatening the kid with a gun? Is that kid just talking to himself? Is he doing both voices? Is that why that dude is so confused? Did that dude somehow see Jack Flack?

If you ask me, in that moment that the kid drops the gun, the stress of knowing that he took a life shattered his psyche and turned him into an unsalvageable vegetable. Or at least, that's how I'd like to read this movie.

Check it out, and let me know what you think. Happy viewing!

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