19 October 2010 | mbs
OK but could have been a lot better...
Jim has an interesting set up and a merging of 2 narrative strands that really should not co-exist side by side unless there's going to be one whopper of an ending. That there's not a truly jaw dropping ending is representative of the film's flaws in general. Jim has some interesting ideas, and some very well done scenes--the opening pre-credit sequence establishing the dystopian future is very well shot and hints at more interesting things to come, but the pacing throughout is just a bit too sluggish to really pull you into its world. The film's narrative developments also just don't happen often enough, even though there are things that happen that keep you watching there's not really a lot happening to either of the main characters throughout the film even if both of their worlds are coming to an end so to speak.
The film isn't boring though--it was always more than interesting enough to keep me invested in what was going to happen next, but that's just it, there is no next, not really. The film kind of plays like a tea kettle in that it starts off at a low boil and while the main character is very much on the stove in a slow burn--the film itself never quite works up to a full steam. (movie cuts to the credits before it can really make that full kettle whistle that i was hoping it would have.) Because of this lack of momentum, the film doesn't really pull you in the way it should, remaining more at a distance. (it might of course have been that way on purpose given the subject matter--maybe the director wanted the film to be a little remote.) The things that were good were very good though. The actor who played Jim--David Illian does an excellent job throughout offering a very good portrait of an increasingly frustrated and despondent man in what is sadly modern day America. There are several well played scenes throughout in which Jim goes on one hopeless job interview after another--and each one is played beautifully by Illian...you really see the increasing frustration mounting across his face without him even having to say a word, its a nice job. I even believed his character's fundamental behavioral changes which might not have been so believable if his weary and anxious but somewhat happy character in the flashbacks didn't seem to share some traits with his new coming to terms with his increasingly dire circumstances. (forget the unemployment, in his present he's got several hundreds of thousands in debt to an insurance company, he's got a debt collector leaving him threatening phone messages, and he has an increasing fondness for fiddling around with the rifles in his gun cabinet.) In the flashbacks that you see sprinkled throughout his part of the film--you see him with his wife, and you see how happy she made him even if he is increasingly worried about their life together and you absolutely see the same person in them making the actions he takes in his awful present seem natural and not out of character. I could say the same for the actress who plays the clone in the future--she hits just the right degree of curiosity and innocence in her scenes scattered throughout, and even though she also goes through some major changes in her life, she keeps an even keel (she is a clone after all) and its a solid perf overall.
The scenes set in the future are very well shot--and in some cases very well staged as well---there's one sequence just past the opening where you see the clone's job and her role at work in the future world that's done in a long shot that pans over so you can see the other clones at work alongside her--and its really well done.
I just wish the film went somewhere interesting with its two main characters/plot lines. Just when it seems like something is finally happening to both characters, its time for the movie to end. Would've liked a little more to have happened in those last 10-15 minutes at least. Clearly the writer/director's has something to say, and the story and the actors are definitely there--so i don't know why he doesn't really go to town with everything he has going on here.