Don’t look now,
but Kevin Costner is hearing voices again.
This time, instead of mysterious ramblings from a
cornfield, Costner is haunted by a duality of natural phenomena,
insects, and waterfalls. In
Dragonfly, a haunting love story that works when it is
unconvential, but stumbles when it goes over the top for emotion,
Costner is a stubborn, doubtful doctor who has just lost his wife
in natural disaster while she was on an aid mission in South
America. The movie
hearkens back to Ghost and The Sixth Sense, and while it lacks the
edge and genuine emotion of those two films, it does succeed in
making us think twice about those things that we would normally
dismiss, and believe in the power of true emotion to help us see
what we may doubt or scoff out.
Costner is Dr Joe
Darrow and along with his physician wife Emily, was apparently
living a comfortable life. But all is turned asunder when a flood
washes away their future plans and leaves the doctor a distraught
something is amiss. He
begins experiencing things which most would chalk up to
coincidence or chance, but with his heart longing and yearning for
her memory, he begins to expand his realm of the possible.
You see, he hears her voice, he feels her presence, and
through some circumstances some sappy and maudlin, others just
downright predictable, he begins to wonder if she’s really all
the way gone. Courtesy
of the convenient presence of nun, some young cancer patients, and
a tolerant law professor neighbor, Costner begins to explore the
boundaries of the impossible, while clinging to the love and
emotion that he lost. The
film repeatedly, if not inadvertently, poses the question, does
our mind, fueled by emotion, expand what it believes and what it
Costner’s love for his wife allow him to consider that she is
still out there trying to contact him? Does his passion to find
these answers allow him to explore circumstances which he normally
pass off as inane? The
film stumbles through the groundwork of establishing the potential
connection, but somehow touches an emotional nerve during his
journey, both physical and mental.
The resolution of the film, while not a twist, is still
kind of a pleasant surprise, and is acceptable in the grand
scheme. Director Tom Shadyac falls back on some of his tools that
almost made Patch Adams too much, in the establishment of the bond
between the doctor and his wife, and the circumstances, some
believable, some questionable, in order to support, and ultimately
justify, his conclusion. He does manage to balance it enough
to make it tolerable, without being excessive. Oddly enough, I
thought back to one of the better movies of last year, Memento,
during the viewing of Dragonfly. Both involve a grieving
husband, and the search for answers by whatever means
necessary. In Dragonfly however, the supernatural edge adds
something to it, while the cliched filled script detracts, and at
times distracts from the matters at hand. Had Shadyac laid
off just a bit, and taken a few more chances with things, he may
have had a memorable film.
Most of the time,
Costner is better when he’s at the extremes of character traits.
When he’s serious (JFK, Thirteen Days, Dances With
Wolves, Field of Dreams) his determination and stubborn nature
comes across to near perfection.
When he’s cute and humorous, (even add in athletic, Tin
Cup, Bull Durham), he plays off his rugged good looks and charm
and coasts through the roles.
But in past roles like this one, as grieving, doubting,
stubborn, cute and romantic, he has usually failed (For Love of
The Game, Revenge, Waterworld, The Postman) This
time around though, he has balanced all of those and bottled them
when necessary, and lets them out at just the right times
(although occasionally, during movies failed dialogue scenes, he
comes off as a bit too over the top).
This movie is his to make or break, and he doesn’t do
anything outstandingly good or bad, but comes in at just the right
pace to make this film work.
Dragonfly could be the poster movie for someone who just will not
let go. It treads on
similar ground that Ghost laid down a few years ago, and that
other movies have touched on upon recently, that of the
communication with lost loves through other than worldly forces.
The movie succeeds at being entertaining, but stumbles when
it falls back on clichéd situations and dialogue.
The overall experience is one that is mildly successful,
but with a toned down touch, could have a been a strong
supernatural love story that presents the query of strength of
emotional bond, fueling strength of belief in that which most
would normally dismiss or cast off. Just as in life, if you
open your mind and heart, and allow your blinders to come off, in
favor of the potential that exists in the world, then you may be
pleasantly surprised at the results. Even if it isn't
exactly what you expect, it can still be a refreshing surprise
amidst the madness
out of $$$$$)
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