Criminal (2016) – Movie Review

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Criminal (2016)

Directed by: Ariel Vromen

Starring: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve, Gal Gadot, Michael Pitt and Ryan Reynolds

Rated: R

Run Time: 113 min

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

2 1/2 out of 5 Frames

By: Shari K. Green


Kevin Costner’s new movie, “Criminal,” was a good movie the first one-hundred times you saw it.  This recipe has a little Bond, a bit of Taken, sprinkled with Jason Bourne and if you cook this up, you have yourself an instant movie… right?  That’s not quite how it works. 

It’s a good formula but how many times can it really work?  I’m not saying it’s a bad movie… maybe I started this off too negatively.  It’s really not a bad movie.  It’s just that there’s not a whole lot of freshness to it.  Let me explain.

An agent known as the Dutchman (Michael Pitt) let everyone know he has the ability to launch nuclear weapons and since this has become well known, it’s not a good thing for him.  Terrorists who want what Dutchman has, want to procure it to bring the world to its knees.  He clearly wasn’t thinking.  Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) was hiding Dutchman and getting him money to return safely but Pope is killed by terrorists before he can complete his mission.

The London branch of the CIA, who would like the information Pope had on the Dutchman just as much as the terrorists do, learns that a scientist, Dr. Frank (Jones), can transplant memories from a dead person into a living person.  Dr. Frank is positive his work is ready, but has yet to do human trials.  This is not a problem for the CIA. 

Enter CIA Human Trail subject, prisoner Jericho (Kevin Costner), a sociopath who is a nasty killer; he has no empathy for others and has lived most of his life behind bars.  He isn’t crazy about volunteering because if you want him to do something, he’s going to want the opposite, but he doesn’t have much of a choice and the experimental surgery takes place.  Surgery is a success and Pope’s memories, skills and knowledge of the whereabouts of the Dutchman are now available.  

While being transferred, he escapes custody, (uh-huh, and with memories to guide him), goes looking for Pope’s old life and looking for the Dutchman, as well… not to mention all of the money he was about to give him.  He knows where Pope lived and, assuming this would be a safe place to hideout, proceeds to the dwelling.  When he gets there he is not quite prepared what he finds.

With his limited experience associating with people other than police or guards, he doesn’t quite know how to react to the woman he comes across at the Pope home… nor does he know what to do with the feelings that now creep into his brain about people he, Jericho, doesn’t know. 

Emotions, sympathy, and love are foreign to him… this character heretofore is foreign to the Costner resume, as well, but he does a good job with Jericho, giving him a gravelly voice, a crazed temperament and wild nature that changes when he meets the love of his life and their child.




However, as things sometimes do, the movie begins to drag.  So far, it was exciting to watch Costner as this monster and you look forward to seeing how he ends up handling his new life, but then it gets too far fetched.  It becomes lost in trying to be too much… but it’s still an irrationally amusing picture and one I’d say is worth catching at a matinee.  

Gary Oldman, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones… how can you say no to this?  

Regardless of how many times even they have been in a similar story to this one.  Hey, it’s what they do best; entertain us.  I’m in.

Criminal opens in theaters starting Friday April 15, 2016.

About Shari K. Green

Shari became fascinated by films when at the age of seven she saw a movie being made in front of her house. As a teenager she immersed herself in the culture of film working on stage and then became a cinephile, working in a video store. Since then she expanded into film criticism writing for the last eight years and she has now written, directed and produced several short films and is currently working on a feature film project with her production company, Good Stew Productions, which she created with a few of her friends. Her favorite movies are “The Big Chill” and “Lonely Boy” and she enjoys watching Woody Allen films above all others.

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