Directed by John Maybury, starring Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Daniel Craig.

This movie is the 2005 equivalent of last year's 'The Butterfly Effect', only not quite as bad - which has to do with the casting of Adrien Brody in the lead role. Ashton Kutcher was the main man in 'The Butterfly Effect', but thankfully he doesn't appear here.

However, not even an actor of Brody's pedigree can rescue a film that tries to be too clever for its own good and is dragged even further down by the decision to wallow in its own smugness.

Jack Starks (Brody) is a US Marine Sergeant during the Gulf War when a bullet to the head nearly kills him. The hardy Starks recovers, but is left with amnesia. Upon his release he returns to his native Vermont, where his fortunes take another nosedive.

It's not that interesting a story, and the upshot of it all is that he is falsely accused of shooting dead a police officer. Alas, due to an ill-timed black out, Starks is unable to verify that he wasn't the killer.

He is found guilty but insane, and is sent to a rather gruesome institution. There, he is subjected to 'treatment' by a Dr Becker (Kristofferson), which involves him being injected with mind-altering drugs, tied up in a strait-jacket and slid into a morgue drawer for hours on end. After adjusting to his frequent visits to the drawer, he finds a way to somehow travel into the future in order to change his present circumstances and those of a young girl, Jackie (Knightley), whom he encountered on his journey through his home state.

The opening thinks it is complex but in truth is just plain confusing. The character of Starks is never really explained, and we can't really make a decision on what kind of person he is. The implication is that he is a reasonable man, but his relationship with Jackie is strange to say the least.

The idea that the awful treatment inflicted on Starks and a subsequent jump up along the time continuum could, conceivably, produce a worthwhile film. For it to work, however, we would need some half-way plausible reason for fooling ourselves into believing it could happen. Some will argue that you need to suspend disbelief to enjoy a movie like this. Being asked to suspend standards is a different kettle of fish.

Séamus Leonard