Directed by Rene Pannevis
Starring Charley Palmer Rothwell & Thomas Turgoose
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Following the seemingly jovial antics of two car thieves (Charley Palmer Rothwell and Thomas Turgoose), Jacked is a surprisingly alert if slightly disjointed short film from director Rene Pannevis, that delves into the victimhood of crime and its most pivotal players.
As Russell and Waylen scour the urban streets for a vehicle to steal, their witty banter about liking James Blunt could almost be enough to endear you to their thuggish characters. However, after finding some personal tape recordings from a sick man in their boosted car, the two have a difference of opinion on where the moral line is, which reveals the true nature of their characters.
A thoughtful and interesting short, Jacked is a contemporary study of crime and how it can affect so many people in a variety of ways. Bringing in the human element to this sometimes glorified aspect of society is certainly worth exploring, especially the perspective we are being offered by Pannevis. True these characters are morally flawed and unashamed when it comes to breaking the law, but the reality of their situation is as heartbreaking as the somber lives they stumble upon on those tapes, brought to a depressing culmination by the film's end.
The two central performers are very good. Skipping the cartoonish depictions of villains audiences are so used to seeing, and instead depicting these thieves as complex human beings with different and difficult codes to uphold. The lines between right and wrong are not so simple as being determined by selfish gain, and instead a more complicated tangle of intertwining societal expectations and inner ethics.
Usually told from the victim's point of view, Jacked approaches the mild crime element from a sensitive yet fierce perspective of the antagonists. But that only seems odd because audiences are so used to traditional storytelling methods. Really, all notions of right and wrong are a muddied puddle of grey area, and audiences are sure to bring their own prejudices to a viewing, allowing for an infinite, and equally potent, amount of viewpoints.
Aside from a slightly wobbly ending, Jacked is a terrific and troubling film.