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Criminal – Review


Release Date: 15 April 2016 [USA]
Director: Ariel Vromen
Writer: Douglas Cook - David Weisberg [Screenplay]
Cast: Kevin Costner - Ryan Reynolds - Gal Gadot - Tommy Lee Jones - Gary Oldman - Alice Eve

Posted April 16, 2016 by

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Criminal Review:

The only reason some action and thriller lovers might find their way into a theatre this weekend to catch ‘Criminal‘ is because of the hyped up trailers and shiny cast that came together to make this supposed crackerjack. It might even be because of Ariel Vromen’s previously well received ‘The Iceman’ that got people interested in it. Reconsidering this movie should be in your best interest, as you might want to ease back and watch something that values your money and is worth your time like ‘The Jungle Book’ and maybe even SRK’s ‘Fan’.

Criminal’s storyline centers itself around CIA agent Bill Pope who is out on a quest to pay ransom money to a hacker who calls himself The Dutchman and is killed while on the job. To keep his mission under way, the CIA steps in to fuel Dr Frank, a neurosurgeon’s experimental work of transferring a person’s sub-conscience into another person’s mind. They bring in a convict Jericho Stewart, who is seemingly the only suitably candidate, to help them uncover the location of the Dutchman and prevent the launch codes that he possesses from getting into the wrong hands.

While it’s true, an action thriller usually thrives to thrill with thrilling action sequences, this movie is one of those that makes little room for practicality. Dr Frank’s procedure of conscience-transferring concludes as fast as a kid eating a bag of Doritos. Adding on, Ryan Reynold’s Bill Pope is presumedly the star of the movie whose winning personality is that which was intended to be passed on to Kevin Costner’s Jericho Stewart, seems to have been lost right after his death in the first ten minutes. As Jericho’s mind is infected with the former CIA agent’s memories, he plays them out to his benefit but seems to find a deeper meaning to his life in the process.

The movie delivers just what you probably expected: loud explosions, poor acting and an overly boring storyline that will probably fill your ears with loud yawns from both sides of your seat. Kevin Costner is one of Hollywood’s most renowned actors, and yet fails to captivate us, by portraying a convict whose personality fits Christopher Nolan’s runaway and irritable Bruce Wayne or a more insane version of American History X’s Derek Vineyard. Implanted with memories that contradict his own, it is difficult to engage with his better nature, as he struggles to convince us while struggling to convince himself at the same time. His actions do speak louder than his words, as he manages to beat and punch his way through every sane conversation that comes his way.

Movies with a fairly grand spectacle are usually meant to draw audiences by their action sequences regardless of whether it has a weak storyline to set all of it in place. Sadly, whether you are sitting in front or at the back of the theatre, your eyes will painfully adjust to the loud smashing of cars and bothersome fights that originate without any meaning. As far as humor goes, you find yourself laughing at the movie instead of with it. Along with that, Jericho’s actions that keep him moving raise too many questions. You can even find yourself doubting the movie’s representation of the police and CIA as they seem to be quite negligent and dim-witted about their surroundings. It mostly carries way too many questions rather than answers, and consists of more plot and loop holes than a straight forward story about good and evil and the outcome whether it’s good or bad.

Agonizing as it seems, the movie also lacks talent from the talented cast it boasts, only because they can’t find their place in a plot that is too thick to perceive. Little can be said about them which includes Tommy Lee Jones as Dr. Franks and Gary Oldman as Quaker Wells, the CIA who do nothing but manage to decorate the movie, like lights on a dead christmas tree. The only good thing you can hope to catch is Pope’s wife, played by Gal Gadot who appears a couple of times, and who manages to soften this patchy and brain aching movie lovable smiles and soft eyes as she grieves her husband’s death. Other performances from Alice Eve and Jordi Molla are not even recognizable as they just come and go without anyone realizing. You would think such A list stars would bring big bucks to this movie’s pockets, but you’re quite wrong as it is quite the opposite that we witness how poorly the movie values them by striking them off in ways a movie goer wouldn’t observe, right before they make a mark as their characters.

Ariel Vromen has managed to come off as the real criminal over here who sacrifices more than his head but the heads of every talented person attached to this movie by blowing them all up onscreen. It is a film that needs more heat than it deserves which manages to convict its heroes and villains for merely being involved with this appalling movie, it’s poorly conceived storytelling skills, redundant conversations and a lack of understanding of the concept of a thrilling action film. Although this fizzle of a thriller does one thing right: its ability to help you pass the time on one of those monotonous days where you’re waiting for it to come to an end. Catch ‘Criminal’ this weekend, if you dare.


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Written by:


Alston Rodrigues
The Artsypant – Facebook Page
Freelance Contributor

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