The Butterfly Effect (2004) 720p

Movie Poster
The Butterfly Effect (2004) - Movie Poster
Sci-Fi | Thriller
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
English 2.0  
Run Time:
113 min
IMDB Rating:
7.7 / 10 
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Directors: J. Mackye Gruber [Director] ,

Movie Description:
Evan Treborn grows up in a small town with his single, working mother and his friends. He suffers from memory blackouts where he suddenly finds himself somewhere else, confused. Evan's friends and mother hardly believe him, thinking he makes it up just to get out of trouble. As Evan grows up he has fewer of these blackouts until he seems to have recovered. Since the age of seven he has written a diary of his blackout moments so he can remember what happens. One day at college he starts to read one of his old diaries, and suddenly a flashback hits him like a brick!


  • The Butterfly Effect (2004) - Movie Scene 1
  • The Butterfly Effect (2004) - Movie Scene 2
  • The Butterfly Effect (2004) - Movie Scene 1

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Only watch Director's Cut, not Theatrical Release!

Director's cut: 8, Theatrical release: 6. Seriously, can you destroy a movie any worse than by putting a sappy ending on a serious movie? I mean, can you? No, you can't. So do yourself a service and avoid the pap that they fed the audiences in the theater because they are gutless worms and go with the actual story. I just thank god I saw the Director's Cut first. It sort of gives me the creeps to think how many movies I've seen that were lobotomized and left me feeling they were just ho hum.

That said, it is only a few minutes at the end that are different. Either way you would have felt you were watching a pretty good movie. The difference is just that if you watched the theatrical release you would have this nagging feeling following you around the rest of your life that you should be able to go back in time and change the ending.

How Kelso lost his mind.

Every so often we all seem to move away from the usual nothings we talk about amongst our friends, and instead get into a deeply philosophical conversation about the workings of Chaos Theory and the existence of parallel universes. No? Okay, just me then. In any case, this discussion just the other day led to a friend recommending The Butterfly Effect, a film that puts both a stylistic and sinister spin on the idea that even the mere flapping of a butterfly's wings can result in drastic changes in another place or time. Being initially sceptical because of the generally negative reaction from critics, I was certainly not disappointed by film's end.

Ashton Kutcher couldn't be more different that his concurrent role as the dimwitted Kelso from That '70s Show in his lead performance as Evan Treborn, a man who has suffered blackouts since his childhood, and realises that he can access and relive vital gaps in his memory through the help of other sources like journals or images. He uses this skill to, in his eyes, right the wrongs of the past. Namely, injustices that were performed upon his friends Lenny and Tommy and only love Kayleigh (Amy Smart). What he doesn't realise is that the changes he thinks are made for the better actually result in a severely changed future that threatens his own life.

Without trying to sound like a sadist, The Butterfly Effect excels in presenting a consistently dark, melancholy atmosphere. Indeed, there is hardly a happy moment in the entire film, although that may be untrue depending on which ending you watch (more on that later). Any event that looks as if it might provide a slim ray of hope for Evan to make things right is quickly dashed by a sudden escalation of the plot, maintaining the viewer's interest the whole way through. The film doesn't shy away from heavy subject matter either, including prostitution, murder, paedophilia and drug use, all of which culminates in an enjoyably gritty, underground tone.

Positively, the menacing nature of the movie isn't weighed down by comic relief. I suppose when many of us think of this sort of plot, we first think of the Simpsons Halloween special when Homer invents the time-travelling toaster. Not knowing quite how dark the film would turn out to be, I was concerned The Butterfly Effect would go down a similar path, in which Evan keeps returning to the present to find that all humans have grown wings or Pauly D has become President. Instead, any changes are limited to the persona of the characters, rather than altering the physical environment, which was definitely the professional path to take.

The pacing is another strength. For a film that comes in well under two hours, directors Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber deserve credit for packing a lot in, and doing it well. Certainly, some thrillers benefit from slow-moving scenes to draw suspense (the superb Eyes Wide Shut, for example) but Butterfly manages to combine compounding urgency with engaging character development in constructing a fast-moving film that requires both thought and stamina to decipher, without being needlessly confusing.

Oddly, the film possesses four different final scenes, and so the lasting message of the movie may differ depending on the copy viewed. My favourite ending is the 'official' one applied to the theatrical release. It is satisfying, yet open-ended, as is the case with its alternate cut. Another is uncharacteristically upbeat and illogical, perhaps suggested in the editing room as a way of appeasing confused screen-test viewers. But if you really want to get down to brass tax, go with the Director's Cut: a far more morbid conclusion with a surreal twist. Intrigued? Don't let me stop you.

*There's nothing I love more than a bit of feedback, good or bad. So drop me a line on [email protected] and let me know what you thought of my review.*

Incredibly Great Film

With over 1000 reviews, chances are not many are going to read this, but I just have to say how much I love this film, which I just discovered about a month ago, and have now watched 7 times, once the theatrical version and six times, the directors version, which I greatly prefer, as it fits the overall script better and what was intended originally. I am 70, and hardly expected this or any new movie to make it to my top 10, especially since I am not a fan of fantasy or time travel movies generally, but "The Butterfly Effect" has become my 4th favorite of the nearly 3000 films I have viewed in my life. The movie has many disturbing scenes, but the pace is amazingly fast, the acting excellent for the most part, and the characters physical continuity from childhood through adolescence to adult was the best I have ever seen in a film with 3 separate periods. The plot has been so thoroughly reviewed, I won't waste time telling the details again. Suffice it to say, if you can handle the elements of child abuse and animal mistreatment, (not graphically depicted) and can ignore the critics and watch the film at least twice, I think you will appreciate what a great film this is. And I have recently watched the director's commentary and deleted scenes, which further illustrate what an ambitious film this is. It should have been a classic, and it shows how off-base the critic's fraternity can be. Roger Ebert was fairer to the film than most of the others among major critics, but I think they were determined to knock the film because they didn't like Ashton Kutcher, and the film came out in January, which predisposes most critics to expect a bomb. Do yourself a favor if interested, and rent this Infinifilm. If you like an intense and entertaining movie experience, you won't be disappointed, and you may be enthralled, as I was, and hope you will be.
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