Did Rice See Jack Flack in Cloak & Dagger?

Cloak & Dagger was one of my favorite films as a child and remains one of my most beloved movies. It is a must watch for every father with their children and has one of the most tear-jerking endings of all time. The movie is memorable from beginning to end and so many elements resonated with me as a kid – from the video game incorporation to the action hero to the make-believe friend who we aren’t sure is really make-believe.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Davey Osborne is a young, imaginative, video-game lover who enjoys creating scenarios where he and his friend Kim are spies and must figure out ways to solve their various “missions.” Davey has a make-believe friend whose name is Jack Flack, played brilliantly by Dabney Coleman. Coleman also portrays Davey’s father, Hal Osbourne, and is a gorgeous reminder of how most young boys think about their dads. Only Davey can see Jack, of course, and he shows up to give Davey advice and walk alongside him during Davey’s missions.

Well, Davey gets into a real-life issue that is life-threatening. At the end of the film, the antagonist, whose name is Rice, is about to kill Davey with an automatic weapon (the language and imagery of this final scene is absolutely brutal. Unbelievable that this was a children’s movie). Jack Flack shows up and tells Davey to kill Rice. But Davey won’t do it. In order to save Davey’s life, Jack goes over to draw Rice’s fire. Davey looks over at Jack and yells, “Jack, no!” Rice, who was already looking over in that direction with a puzzled face, pulls the trigger toward Jack Flack and “kills” him. This makes Davey shoot Rice.

Watch the scene below, and then I will provide my thoughts:

Now, most people (and Wikipedia) assume that Rice looks over to his left and ultimately shoots because Davey is looking over there and yells, “Jack, no!” The idea is that Rice assumes there is someone hiding over in that direction and just starts firing.

But I’m not so sure.

I have always wondered if Rice might have caught a glimpse of Jack Flack for just a second, surprising him to the point of causing him to fire. Here are my thoughts.

The biggest and most obvious reason is that Jack Flack looks different in this one scene than he does in the rest of the movie. As he is standing there taunting Rice, he appears to be transparent. Normally, he just appears like a normal human being. Why? Why at this one scene when Jack is “making himself known” do the filmmakers decide to make him look different? It might very well be because the movie is saying something special about our imaginary friends and the power of a child’s imagination.

Also, Rice looks weirded out the entire conversation. This might be because Davey keeps looking to his left, but I have always thought Rice “felt” something was off. I could understand if he was firing into a wooded area or something, but he fires at a blank wall. Why would he do that unless he saw “something?”

What do you think? Did Rice see Jack Flack?