Movie Review by Reece De Ville
Starring: Kevin Costner, Susanna Thompson, Joe Morton, Ron Rifkin, Kathy Bates
Director: Tom Shadyac
Missing the ‘I see/hear/smell/touch dead people’ movie boat by a year or so, another film has once again arrived to ask the question: ‘Is there life after death?’
DRAGONFLY brings us the story of Dr Joe Darrow (Costner) and his traumatic visions of his late wife Emily (Thompson) as he struggles to come to terms with her tragic death whilst on a red cross mission in Peru. As the anniversary of this event creeps nearer, Darrow starts to witness strange events in the ward of the hospital his wife used to work in. Her former patients are seemingly bringing back messages from Emily when enduring near death experiences, which leads Joe to a startling conclusion……
Unfortunately, whilst the premise is an interesting one, the execution is predictably stale and trite. Shadyac uses some tried and tested ‘animal jumping out of the dark’ moments to good effect, and manages to sustain the interest through the opening half of the film. However, as soon as Darrow starts to investigate the strange happenings at the hospital, a big sign with ‘watch out for the twist ending’ plastered all over it appears. Like STIR OF ECHOES and THE SIXTH SENSE before it, the twist ending is becoming more popular for movies of the ‘supernatural’ ilk. Unlike those films, the ending becomes all too obvious too quickly, leaving a rather dull chase through the forests of Peru to a staggeringly predictable conclusion. In fact, with a closing monologue imploring us to treasure our loved ones and believe in love (oh god, make it stop), all that was left was for the Peruvian tribe featured in the movie to start singing ‘Heal The World’.
Kevin Costner’s performances are laconic at best, and here he is practically sleepwalking through the film as if phoning in his performance from the dead like his dearly departed screen wife. Perhaps with a more intelligent script, and livelier direction we could have had another sleeper hit on our hands here, not just another ‘homage’ to a style of storytelling that is beginning to wear very thin. Able support from Joe Morton and Kathy Baker does not maketh a good leading man, and in this instance Kevin Costner is about as animated as a piece of Norway’s finest. If released two years ago, DRAGONFLY may have seemed fresher and more vital, but as it stands this latest offering from the director of PATCH ADAMS and the star of WATERWORLD seems totally irrelevant
On the plus side, the film is very short, as is Linda Hunt.