We were going to catch 'Big Fish' this weekend, me and the Kid, but got drawn instead into a long ramble of a film.
Such a winding trail, indeed, that I cheat:
"A gripping, supernatural thriller that taps into the turbulent nature of past, present and future. When a young man (called Evan) learns he can change the nature of his painful life by replacing his memories, he accidentally transforms the lives of everyone he holds most dear — with chilling consequences.
As his new existence spirals dangerously out of control, he races to discover the single event from his past that will save his life and reunite him with his one true love."
Hmm. "Races" is scarcely the word for 'The Butterfly Effect'! That was the "official" synopsis.
I'd only seen one write-up before we went in, had never heard of its star Ashton Kutcher before (apparently he usually does comedy), and was led to expect a moderately interesting sci-fi drama.
Fiction it certainly was, by the sloppy bucketful, in a series of episodes (those transformations) of varying interest which had me coming out hopping for a pee, as if we'd just sat without a break through so many episodes of a mystery B-series for TV that I lost count.
Science it most certainly wasn't. The premise, you are kindly reminded at the outset, is the famous chaos theory one coined by Edward Lorenz in 1963 — Greg Rae explains chaos (imho) — and developed in 1972 for a talk on 'Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas?'
The tornadoes triggered when Evan tampers with time involve all kinds of alternatives for his one true love (Amy Smart), including plenty of sex, violence, drugs and rock'n'roll, and problems of varying sizes for everybody else, including his mother (Melora Walters). Mum gets worried early on when Evan's teacher asks the class to show her what they'd like to be when they grow up and our seven-year-old hero hands in a picture of a psychopathic killer: one the poor boy has no recollection of drawing.
From there on in, the plot goes to places which are sometimes the fruit, to be fair, of remarkably lively imaginations. Marianne buried her face in my shoulder only once, and when I remarked on this later, she said she had shut her eyes rather more often (in Britain, it will be released with a R-15, in Canada it's an 18A, says the IMDb, but for the French it's R-12).
The acting, at all ages, is consistent and solid, the subject matter includes some of the nastier aspects of life we now talk about openly, such as paedophilia, and writer-directors Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber seemed so keen to get several messages across that they forgot that the plot — and the science — should at least make sense!