A dumb but likeable TV movie for its first two-thirds and a pictureseque cheese fest for its last act, “Dragonfly” is the latest bomb Kevin Costner’s been involved in though because its so becoming a habit – my expectations for this were very low going in.
As a story idea on paper this would’ve sounded interesting as its a film which mixes two very different genres – the soap melodrama and the spooky thriller. However its like oil and water, neither one comes together and as a whole it lessened by being a mixture of the two – a strong script or director could channel it but neither do in this case. Despite this there’s some nice moments to be found.
Costner is an odd character in this – a cynical sentimentalist. One of the first things you learn about being a cynic (trust me I’ve grown up in a family of them) is that it makes you somewhat cold and detached so emotions aren’t very strong. That rule doesn’t apply here – he’s trying to play an internally grieving and frustrated man but Costner as an actor is just flat at the best of times and so the understated qualities required for the role just don’t appear.
Bates is in one of her most forgettable roles in ages, Hunt does a nice little cameo, whilst most of the supporting cast turn flat supporting roles into vaguely interesting ones – they seem to realise this for the trash it is and play to it.
Whilst the sentimental elements are TV daytime drama personified, the ‘suspense’ elements come off as film school grade tacky attempts at suspense from a brief window reflection to a dark silhouette. The music is overpowering so often it feels like Shadyac didn’t have enough faith in the audience to see the mood and has gotten composer Chris Young to blurt out some rather indistinctive pieces to get us in the mood (when in fact they push us out of the story).
Even curiouser yet, 2/3 of the way in the film entirely changes tack and becomes a “Proof of Life” esque action in the jungle style bit with Costner leaping off cliffs (albeit pretty ones) and visiting native tribes – just before the horribly soppy ending. Costner’s been trying to resurrect his career for ages, well this can be added to that list of failures. Its a little worse than “Waterworld” but thankfully not “The Postman”.