Director Bernard Rose teams up with Danny Huston for their fourth Tolstoy adaptation following Ivans XTC(2003) and The Kreutzer Sonata(2008), Boxing Day (2011) in the indie comedy drama: Two Jacks. Based on the short story of The Two Hussars, it is the tale of legendary film director Jack Hussar (Danny Huston)who returns to Hollywood after a long absence looking to finance for his next film. He is welcomed as a prince; he drinks freely, attends tinseltown's most glamorous parties, romances beautiful Diana (Sienna Miller) and wins his financing in a poker game. Years later, his son (Jack Huston) arrives in Hollywood to make his directorial debut, and it is clear that he aspires to live up to his father's reputation.
Rose chooses Hollywood as the backdrop for this study of what goes into creating an impression. And how apt. Danny Huston gives a rousing performance as the chain smoking, self absorbed, washed up director whose legend and persona are more revered than his actual talent. Jack Huston's portrayal of the Jack Hussar Jr. is a subtle nuancing of youthful bravado and insecurity. Unlike Joe Wright's recent grandiose, cinematic adaptation of Anna Karenina (2012), Two Jacks stays true to Rose's 'high art/ low-fi' style, fast camera work and quick edits are reminiscent of European cinema and the French New Wave. Rose's direction constantly points to the characters and keeps you engaged. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty to look at; the costumes designed by Julia Clancey are spectacular, the photography is quirky and captivating. The performances by a stellar cast that also boasts Jacqueline Bisset as the old Diana, Jamie Harris as Colinh and Richard Portnow as Lorenzo, the shark like producer.
This is Rose's fourth film of his Tolstoy series and arguably the best. It is not just the alternative, indie Tolstoy adaptation, it is by far the most interesting, intelligent and entertaining. Well worth a watch.