Kevin Costner is a Smooth “Criminal”

[usr 5]
Criminal Movie Poster
Criminal. Due out in theaters April 15, 2016.

Kevin Costner takes on a very different role in his new film “Criminal.”  Also stars Ryan Reynolds (CIA Agent Bill Pope), Gary Oldman (Quaker Wells, CIA), Tommy Lee Jones (Dr. Franks), Alice Eve (Marta Lynch, CIA), Gal Gadot (Jill Pope, wife of Reynolds’ character Bill Pope).

LONDON – CIA Agent Bill Pope (Reynolds) is on the run.  After picking up a bag filled with $10 million and a US passport, he leaves the pickup point only to discover he’s being followed.  He stashes the bag and tries to get away in a black cab.  He sends a message to his team at the CIA office that he’s surrounded and then sets the GPS coordinates for the driver to take him to a safe place where he’ll meet up with CIA/military enforcement.

Even though he thinks he’s on his way to safety, it doesn’t help that the group that’s following him is an anarchist group and they are excellent hackers.  Hagbardaka Heimbahl (played by Jordi Mollà), the leader of this terrorist group, changes the GPS coordinates so that he’ll arrive at an abandoned slaughterhouse.  By the time he realizes what’s happened, it’s too late for Agent Pope.  He’s captured and tortured to death.

Agent Pope is holding important information everyone wants.  They want to know the whereabouts of The Dutchman (played by Michael Pitt).

The reason why The Dutchman is so important is because he’s created a wormhole into the US military weaponry system.  He controls all of America’s nuclear warheads.  This weapon was designed for Heimbahl’s  anarchist group, but feeling like he had made a mistake, he offered to sell the wormhole back to the US government for $10 million and a US passport.  For The Dutchman, this isn’t about money.  $10 million is the price of his freedom, because he will always be on the run from this anarchist’s group.

Agent Pope was the only person who knew where The Dutchman was located, because he hid him himself.  With his death, the information died with him…or did it?

Dr. Franks (Jones) has developed a technology where information can be transferred from one brain to another.  Pope is clinically dead, but they are able to keep him alive long enough to complete this brain transfer.  There’s only one man that can be a prime candidate for the transfer…a felon named Jericho (Costner) that’s currently in prison.

What makes Jericho so unique is that the front part of his brain is essentially turned off.  He was hit in the head when he was a young boy.  Because of that hit, his brain failed to develop correctly. He has no understanding of right from wrong.  He has no sympathy or emotions.  He just does as he pleases.  As the warden said, how can you punish someone when he does wrong when he has no concept or understanding that what he is doing is wrong.  You can’t teach him that it is wrong.  He does not understand.

(c) 2015 Michelle Kenneth
(c) 2015 Michelle Kenneth

This is what makes him a great candidate for the mind transfer.  They need his frontal lobe to transfer Agent Pope’s mind.

With the successful completion of the surgery, Agent Quaker (Oldman) immediately demands answers from Jericho…where is The Dutchman?  Jericho acts like the surgery was not successful, so he is sent back to prison.

On the way back, he manages to escape (very violently) and finds that he’s no longer in the United States, but in London.  With no money to his name, or any means to survival, he does what he does best.  He takes what he wants, when he wants.  If someone threatens him, he lives by the motto, “You hurt me, I hurt you worse.”

As he continues his crime spree across London, Agent Pope’s mind starts to awaken in his mind.  The memories of Pope’s wife and daughter are so prevalent, he heads to their home.  He knows where all the cameras are, what the access codes and PIN numbers are.  He breaks into the house, duct tapes Jill Pope (Gadot) to the bed in an attempt to rape her and then rob the house.  But Agent Pope starts to really work on him…because he starts to hold back when he realizes what he’s doing is wrong.  He could hurt them and that would not be a good thing.

He takes off with some valuables to pawn so he can have money to buy food.  One item he picked up in his heist was a silver hairbrush. He started to remember how Jill would brush Emma’s hair (the daughter).  The memory made him take back the brush, because it had sentimental meaning to Pope (and to him somehow).

He starts ordering food from the same places Pope went to.  He’d place his order in French, when he knows he doesn’t know any other language but English.  With Pope’s memories becoming more and more prevalent, he sees where a bag with money is stashed, but doesn’t know exactly where the place is.  Seeing that it had something to do with a library, he heads to the nearest library to search.

While at the library, he puts his newfound knowledge to work on the computer.  He hacks into the CIA’s system and locks them out of it, searching for information on Dr. Franks.  He’s the only one that can help him with his splitting headache and this new mind inside of his head.

Dr. Franks is willing to help him with the pain, but warns him that he only has 48 hours before the memories start to fade.  He needs medical attention.  Jericho doesn’t want to go back into any form of custody, so he tries to leave…only to be caught again by the CIA.

The CIA is racing against the clock to find The Dutchman.  The fact that Jericho hasn’t been able to access the memory yet causes big problems.  The Dutchman, upon finding out that Agent Pope has died, is desperate to find some sort of sanctuary away from the anarchist group.  He turns to the Russians to sell the wormhole to them.

Kevin Costner. October 21, 2015. (c) 2015 Michelle Kenneth
Kevin Costner. October 21, 2015. (c) 2015 Michelle Kenneth

Along the way, Heimbahl discovers that Jericho has Pope’s memories.  So now, not only does Jericho have the CIA chasing him down, but the anarchist group, too.

As Pope’s memories start to take over, Jericho begins to change from the sociopath criminal to a normal human being that cares, but will hurt you worse if you try to hurt him.  He means business.

This movie is one of the best action films I’ve seen in a long time.  Costner’s character is true evil, but you start to love this bad guy who turns into a hero.  This is a very different role for Costner, one that he performed in very well.  He definitely brought his A++ game to this role.

The accompanying cast was exquisitely picked.  When Tommy Lee Jones makes his first appearance, my immediate thought was “The Fugitive” where he’s chasing down the criminal, but that role belonged to Gary Oldman.  Jones’s character was more subdued.  He was the good guy that cared, instead of the law enforcement officer that didn’t give a damn.

This was a very well written script that does not disappoint.

This is a must see.  The movie is due out in theaters on April 15, 2016.


{DISCLOSURE: AMC Theatres provided me with a free pass to an early screening of this movie.  All opinions are my own.}