Jack and Diane is a great example of why I love to watch movies without knowing very much about them beforehand. The only thing I knew about this going in was that it was a love story between two girls, which it is, but it's got some weird stuff going on. Since you're reading this review, you likely do want to know a bit more about it so I'll tell you without spoiling too much.
Juno Temple (daughter of director Julien Temple) is Diane, in New York visiting her aunt before heading off to school in Paris for a year. She meets Jack, played by Riley Keough (granddaughter of Elvis Presley- really!) and they quickly fall in love. Jack is much "tougher" (spending most of the movie with a big gash on her face from being knocked down by a car while walking) and more experienced than Diane, but her feelings towards Diane are strong and she becomes upset when she finds out she will be leaving the country in a couple weeks. Diane also struggles with her feelings, wondering if perhaps she should just cancel her plans for Paris.
The 'weird stuff' I was talking about has to do with Diane- her feelings for Jack may literally be awakening a monster inside her. (I enjoyed being surprised by this in the movie, though this does seem to be the most talked-about element of Jack and Diane and the cover picture subtly hints at it.) Several times, abstract stop-motion animated sequences (produced by the Quay Brothers) are shown which are meant to depict goings-on inside Diane's body, and Diane literally becomes a monster, complete with creature effects, for a couple moments although the movie does not make it clear if this is just within her imagination or if it was supposed to have really happened.
Jack and Diane reminded me a bit of Darren Aranofsky's Black Swan. The style and some of the settings are similar, and the strange moments are handled matter-of-factly.
Shot on good old 35mm film, Jack and Diane has a mostly simple and soft look to it although bright colors (particularly red and blue) are emphasized in a few scenes. There are a few dark moments, where the single-layer Blu-Ray disc appears to show some slight compression artifacts.
Audio is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. While there are no really elaborate sound effects, ambient sound and music is emphasized both up front and in the rear channels. At times this makes some dialogue hard to understand.
English subtitles in SDH style and Spanish are included during the movie only.
A ten-minute piece titled "Creating a Monster: Behind the Special Effects" shows what went into making the creature effects in the movie (hopefully you'll have already seen the movie and know what happens before watching this.) There's also a 4-minute "Look at Jack and Diane" where the director and cast speak briefly about the movie. Both of these are in hi-def with 2-channel sound. There is also a theatrical trailer in hi-def and 5.1 sound. The disc opens with additional trailers, also in hi-def and 5.1, for Deadfall, Nobody Walks, A Royal Affair, Compliance, and a promo for AXS TV.
Jack and Diane is one of those movies that isn't going to please everybody and will likely confuse many also, but it's very entertaining if you keep an open mind and are willing to have unexpected things happen. Repeat viewing makes the story clearer.
Jesse Skeen is a life-long obsessive media collector (with an unhealthy preoccupation with obsolete and failed formats) and former theater film projectionist. He enjoys watching movies and strives for presenting them perfectly, but lacks the talent to make his own.