Directed by Tom Shadyac
Review by Matt Heffernan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Despite all the evidence against him, Hollywood still insists on making Kevin Costner movies. They generally range from exceptionally bad to tolerable. His latest approaches tolerable, so you could honestly say that Dragonfly is one of his better films.
For one thing, the film takes care of the premise right away. Over the opening credits there is a montage showing how Dr. Joe Darrow (Costner) didn't want to follow his wife, Emily (Kathryn Erbe) on a trip to Venezuela to help give medical care to natives in the rain forest. She ends up getting killed in a bus accident, but her body is never found.
Joe tries going back to work at the hospital immediately even though it seems that he is being haunted by Emily. Trying to keep her wish, he looks in on her patients in the pediatric oncology ward. While expecting to visit sick kids, he instead hears Emily's voice calling him, sees kids finger-painting wiggly crosses, and receives messages through the kids to "go to the rainbow."
Now, if you happen to be a cartographer, don't give away the secret behind the wiggly crosses to your date; you wouldn't want to ruin all the fabulous surprises that await in Dragonfly. OK, so maybe there aren't that many surprises, but director Tom Shadyac (Patch Adams) does throw in some effective spook shots. And folks, it doesn't get any scarier than watching Costner try to play a doctor, but seriously...
There is some good atmosphere developed in the film and a fine performance by Kathy Bates as Joe's lesbian neighbor keeps the film interesting, even if it's a bit sad to see Bates allowing herself to be typecast again. Costner was tolerable in that he didn't have to put on any fake accent, but he was otherwise a bore. This part (and this film) needed somebody who could appear passionate on screen, not just an over-baked star going through the motions.
Seeing the kind of film that Dragonfly could have been makes it difficult to watch the actual product. Oh well, maybe next time.
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Review © 2002 Matt Heffernan