Reccos: The Butterfly Effect

This review was written by me a few years ago.
Director: Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber
Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Melora Walters, Elden Henson, William Lee Scott, Eric Stoltz

The Butterfly Effect starts off with the saying that “something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world. – Chaos Theory”. Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher), blacks out frequently at moments of high stress during his childhood. While reading his adolescent journals, he finds out that he can travel back in time and alter parts of his past. When Kayleigh (Amy Smart), his childhood friend kills herself, Evan decides to change the past hoping to save her but finds out that the changes he makes have unintended horrible consequences. He continues to alter the past trying to fix everything. Will he finally be able to make everything perfect is what the rest of the movie is about.

Some of the scenes are brilliant like the one where Evan first finds out his power or the one where Evan is seen holding a knife or the one with Evan and his father (Callum Keith Rennie). Some scenes may be shocking or disturbing like the one where Kayleigh’s father (Eric Stoltz) is making a movie with the kids in the basement. The Scenes where Evan is an amputee or the scenes where Kayleigh is a prostitute or the scene with the fortune teller are pretty good. Its however the final scene in the director’s cut that is the best scene of all.

Ashton Kutcher does a decent job as Evan Treborn and this is a big departure for him from the regular dumb roles that he does. But one can’t help wonder if a more talented actor would have excelled in this role. To his credit, he is the executive producer of the movie and is a major reason for the movie being made. Amy Smart as Kayleigh, Elden Henson as Lenny, William Lee Scott as Tommy are all very good as they have to play different versions of themselves with completely different personalities and back stories. Melora Walters, Callum Keith Rennie and Eric Stoltz and the actors who play the younger versions of the lead characters are all very good.

Matthew F. Leonetti’s cinematography is excellent. The music by Michael Suby during Evan’s journal reading scenes is done brilliantly. Peter Amundson’s editing is excellent amidst all the traveling back and forth. Direction by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber is excellent for the movie keeps you continuously engrossed and it’s very difficult to predict the next scene. The Butterfly Effect is part thriller, part science fiction based on the Chaos theory and there is a good philosophical explanation and a message of how playing God can be even more disastrous.

The movie is pretty disturbing and may not be everyone’s cup of tea and is recommended only for those who can stomach disturbing stuff. There are different endings to the movie but the best is the Director’s cut. The theatrical ending is tame and looks like more of a compromise to ensure that most of the audiences are happy. The ending in the Director’s cut is very disturbing but it leads to the realization as to who the root cause of all the problems is and the extreme step that Evan has to take to make everything perfect. If you have ever wondered ‘What if I had done this/What if I hadn’t done this’ then this movie is definitely for you.

Rating: 4 / 5 (Brilliant).

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