What You Need To Know:
The filmmakers behind JIM are completely clueless about how to create a viable dramatic script. Flashbacks should be used sparingly. And, flash-forwards within flashbacks within flashbacks are just a complete waste of time. Also, there was not enough jeopardy to hold one’s attention. Finally, the two stories here are depressing and have plenty of strong foul language. Despite a slightly moral ending, the movie has a very complex, mechanistic humanist story.
(B, HHH, C, APAPAP, AcapAcapAcap, LLL, VV, S, AA, NM) Slightly moral conclusion to a very humanist story with a touch of faith in one character, but otherwise very mechanistic and with a very strong attack on the American Dream and capitalism; 38 obscenities (many are “f” words) and four strong profanities; brief moments of strong violence with blood include woman on serious cancer drugs starts bleeding inexplicable, clone falls and exposes shinbone, man beats up girl in fight and commits suicide with blood, woman finds cyst in her breast; discussions of sex, scene of man abusing himself with computer porn but nothing shown, genetically engineered babies; no nudity; drinking to excess; no smoking or illegal drugs; and, medical drugs taken to commit suicide, strong anger, psychotic reactions, lying, manipulation, control.
JIM is a high concept movie that doesn’t really work. It takes place partly in the near future, where a company called Lorigen has developed genetically engineered children. It also takes place in a devastatingly post-apocalyptic distant future where all that’s left is the mad leader named Niskaa and his clone servants, who after many generations have turned almost into zombies (in other words, a clone of a clone of a clone that’s out of focus).
In the near future, Jim and Susan lead a dull life and discuss having a baby. The movie jumps to a year later where Jim is alone, crushed under the weight of debt, unemployment and depression.
Cut to the distant future, where Niskaa finds a clone that seems more self-conscious. He wants to electronically dissect her to find out why she’s an improved clone. This distant future setting has a flashback to this young female clone escaping her other clones and curiously exploring the devastated post-apocalyptic world. Cut back to Niskaa’s experiments on this curious clone, where Niskaa discovers she has in her memory a picture of his mother whom he has never met.
To simplify this overly complex story and low budget movie, Susan finds out she has cancer, they put her on a radical treatment. Before doing so, they remove some of her eggs. Then, she dies, and Jim finds out he has to pay for all the debts. These events drive Jim to consider suicide. Before he does, however, he takes the eggs into Lorigen and commits his life insurance money to design the perfect child. A Lorigen salesperson tells Jim the child will live for hundreds of years. That child turns out to be Niskaa. Meanwhile, somehow the curious clone comes back in time and sees the picture of Susan in Jim’s house, startling him.
In the distant future, it turns out there’s only one other “natural” person like Niskaa. A natural is a genetically designed baby, unlike the clones who are an engineered humanoid slave race. The other natural person is an African named Nicodemus, whose genetic asset was faith. Nicodemus is determined to rescue the sentient, curious clone from Niskaa.
The writer/director/producer of Jim and his wife, who also produced JIM and stars as Susan, must have thought that this whole project is a good idea. However, they were completely clueless about constructing a viable dramatic script. Flashbacks should be used sparingly. And, flash-forwards within flashbacks within flashbacks are just a complete waste of time.
For those who follow story, the plot was clear in this movie’s first 15 minutes. From then on, there was not enough jeopardy to hold one’s attention. Consequently, the flashbacks and flash forwards become a weak, insufficient attempt to create interest.
The distant future depicted here is bleak and uninviting. Evidently, the surviving humans took off in rocket ships to move to Mars. So, all that’s left are Nicodemus, Niskaa the dictator, and Niskaa’s clones.
The near future is just as depressing after Jim loses Susan. He curses, has bouts of intense anger during job interviews and has horrible visions of shooting women and children in schoolyards, churches and other places. And, he abuses himself with computer porn. Thus, there’s nothing attractive about Jim.
Furthermore, the language in JIM is just extremely annoying. Also, the writer/director’s statement in the movie’s production notes state that he wanted to show that the American Dream is dead and to use the genetic engineering firm as a metaphor for how the wealthy maintain their power over everyone else.
All this said, some of the dialogue is good and the acting is better than average. In the final analysis, however, don’t waste your time with JIM.