The Butterfly Effect came out in 2004, but every time I recall it I remember it vividly. Recently I watched it for another viewing, and it blew my mind all over again. What I enjoyed most about the film is that it really makes you think, long after it’s off the screen.
“The butterfly effect” refers to the chaos theory – the notion that even the tiniest action has irreversible consequences. For example, it has been suggested that if a butterfly flaps its wings in one corner of the world, eventually the reaction escalates to create a tsunami halfway across the globe. The film is a pleasure to view due to unexpected and exciting plot twits, and I strongly recommend it.
The main character of The Butterfly Effect is a college student, Evan, who discovers that he possesses a supernatural ability to change what happened during blackouts he suffered from as a child. The plot consists of him trying to go back in time to these moments during the blackouts to change the whole course of events to follow. As a result of a simple alteration of a past action, he is able to affect a lot of his loved ones’ lives in the long run. His main target becomes to help his childhood best friend and unrequited love Kayleigh.
There are actually two versions of the film, with two alternate endings to the plot. The version shown in theaters left the Evan and Kayleigh almost strangers, but there is a glimmer of hope for the two star-crossed lovers when they pass each other on the street and share a look. The alternate ending that can be seen on the DVD version of the movie results in Evan sacrificing himself for the good of everyone else.
It is interesting to compare to the mastermind behind Run Lola Run, a German film. The two movies share common themes and parallel ideas about alternate realities and leave viewers wondering about which ending was the best, and which was most probable. However, the two movies were two different styles of directing. The German film had a lot of upbeat techno, interesting split screens and special effects like cartoons. On the other hand, the American film had a darker and more serious tone, and was very realistic.
A great film should integrate life themes and leave the viewer thinking about the point of the movie. The Butterfly Effect is an example of such a film – it contains all the elements of a good, stimulating movie. The moral of the story is that everything you do makes a difference and can emerge as a major impact on other people’s lives. This psychological thriller will keep viewers on the edge of their seats from the first frame all the way to the last rolling shot.