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Dragonfly


He sees dead people. Kevin Costner stars in a derivative supernatural thriller about a man trying to make contact with his deceased wife
Poor old Kevin Costner. Once the toast of Hollywood with Dances With Wolves and JFK, he's now reduced to a series of turkeys - including this cynical cash-in on The Sixth Sense/The Others. A shame, because he's the best thing in Dragonfly, which is as silly as it is manipulative.

Costner plays Joe Darrow, a hotshot Chicago doctor married to fellow medic Emily (Thompson), a do-gooder who sets off to the war-torn jungle. When she's killed in an accident, the distraught Joe begins seeing dragonflies (Emily's favourite creature) everywhere. Then the critically ill patients Emily left behind start giving him messages - apparently from beyond the grave. It's not long before the lights in his house start playing up and Emily's cherished mementos start moving around on their own.

What starts as fairly spooky entertainment soon degenerates into contrived hokum, culminating in a repellent and ridiculous so-called twist ending. Compelling issues of grief and closure are replaced with corny theatricals, staple caricatures (the crew-cut lesbian neighbour, the sweaty, avaricious Latino pilot) and some dodgy CGI as the see-it-from-a-mile-away conclusion throws up more questions than answers. Why does a doctor apparently as effective and caring as Emily embark on a dangerous trip while pregnant? If a ghost can move stuff around in Joe's house why would she bother sending messages through sickly, sappy kids? And most importantly, why does Shadyac presume that suspending disbelief is the same as suspending mental activity?

Linda Hunt is wasted in an almost spoof role as a nun kept quiet by the hospital establishment, while Kathy Bates struggles to inject some humour into proceedings with her quirky old bag routine. And though Costner's trademark brand of blank wholesomeness and dogged sincerity redeems this sinking ship somewhat, he alone cannot keep a project so weighted with its own importance and conceit afloat for long. Better luck next time, Kevin.

Verdict
Shallow, calculated and asinine, Dragonfly is for Costner fans and those searching for cinematic spiritual consolation only.




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