Criminal Struggled to Be Credible
Criminal, starring Kevin Costner, has a good cast and a compelling plot, but more than once during the movie I muttered “Ug, Gamah!”—which is “Oh, come on!” with a mouthful of popcorn. I have a story to inject here.
It was the Camelview Theater (which to my horror, was torn down last fall) near Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was attending a private screening of “The Postman,” a Costner-starred-and-directed film. My friend Linda saved the seats while I got the popcorn and soda. When I got to the salon, she was sitting in a rear section that had been roped off for cast and crew. She waved me in. Some guys from the film had invited her to sit in the reserved section.
Just after the lights went out and the screen lit up, someone came in and sat right behind us. I wasn’t positive until later, but it was Costner. The movie was still being edited, and we even participated in a focus group afterward. When the lights came on I turned around, held out my hand and said, “Nice film.” He didn’t shake it, but rather dropped his fist onto my hand. I thought it was weird, but he couldn’t have missed noticing how I crammed popcorn into my mouth with my right hand. Maybe he was a germ-phobe. The film ultimately bombed. . .
For sentimental reasons, I won’t pan this latest film. Costner’s career has enjoyed a revival in the last few years. He’s working a lot. In this film he plays a complex role: his original character is at least an unfeeling sociopath, but before too long in the action, he receives a memory download from a former CIA agent with some very big secrets. And the mind and memory of the CIA agent add something else—strong feelings for his wife and child.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]It’s true that audiences today routinely venture into fantasy, the future, and genres that defy definition, but this was supposed to be very-near-future stuff: no superheroes yet.[/pullquote]
The result is a performance that succeeded insofar as you accept the character’s reactions to the strange feelings and identity.
The main gripe for me (and the reason for my kernel-infused exhortations) was that some stunts or events in the film pushed my credulity beyond what is usually a very high tolerance threshold. It’s true that audiences today routinely venture into fantasy, the future, and genres that defy definition, but this was supposed to be very-near-future stuff: no superheroes yet.
All in all, the movie gave you what you wanted: your money’s worth for two hours entertainment. I would prefer not to have to check my IQ at the door, though.