Vampire Owl: I am suffering from a thriller overdose.
Vampire Bat: And also the science fiction overdose. This movie is both, just like many other flicks which we have been watching in the recent days.
Vampire Owl: Why is it that there are not enough of such movies made here, and we have to keep depending on the Hollywood all the time?
Vampire Bat: We are specialised in drama, aren’t we?
Vampire Owl: And the romance. You see the latest one, the sequel to Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania.
Vampire Bat: You mean Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Who makes sequels to a dumb movie?
Vampire Owl: A sequel to a super-hit dumb movie.
Vampire Bat: Which is the dumb movie which is not a super-hit in Bollywood?
Vampire Owl: I can only remember Besharam and Tamasha.
Vampire Bat: I am not letting them doing a science fiction thriller. It would mean the beginning of the end.
[Gets three cups of masala tea with biriyani rice and gravy].
What is the movie about? :: Xavier Heimdahl (Jordi Molla) is a newly turned anarchist, a former businessman looking forward to bringing the downfall of all world government and initiate a reign of chaos. For the same, a hacker known by the code name “the Dutchman”, Jan Strook (Michael Pitt) is forced to create a computer program that would be able to bypass all security features, and get to the nuclear defense codes of as many nations as possible. But fearing for what will happen afterwards, Jan panics and contacts Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) who is a CIA agent based in London. Even though Bill manages to get the money and also make the deal with Jan, he is unable to get the money to him, and also safely transport the hacker from the safehouse, as he is captured by the group of terrorists and murdered while trying to extract information.
So, what happens next? :: Now, the situation is that nobody knows where Jan is, and very much desperate to get to the hacker, the senior CIA agen Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) contacts Dr. Micah Franks (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been running a number of experiments related to implanting memories on human brain. Micah agrees that theoretically speaking, he could transplant the memories of a dead man into the brain of a living person who volunteers for the experiment, but it has never been tested before, and nobody can figure out how it turns out to be for the receiver of these memories. A criminal Jerico Stewart (Kevin Costner) seems like the best option for the same for Micah, even though Quaker wants an agent to do the same. But an early childhood brain trauma makes Jerico the best choice according to Micah, and so they go forward with the same.
And what follows the transfer :: They bring a reluctant Jerico to the laboratory and conduct the experiment. In the beginning, it seems unsuccessful, and Jerico doesn’t respond to the questions asked related to Bill. But Jerico escapes the captivity, and memories of Bill begins to flash through his mind. As the memories keep coming to his mind, he keeps experiencing different emotions as well. Meanwhile, Jan decides to sell his program to the Russians believing that CIA is not ready to pay him, and has decided to back out of the deal. At the same time, Xavier and his henchwoman Elsa Mueller (Antje Traue) are looking forward to capture Jerico and find out where Jan is hiding, but it is the CIA who gets to him first. But the question remains if Jerico can remember the significant things, and even if he does, will he tell the CIA or the terrorists the truth?
The defence of Criminal :: There is a wonderful premise in store with Criminal, and it also finishes off well with a nice twist, and a fine ending which is going to appeal to most of the people. The pace is good, and we get into all the action very early, which makes sure that we are interested in what is to happen at the next moment, as things keep going out of control for the protagonists and the world almost ready to descend into chaos. Kevin Costner comes in a role which we are sure to remember more than any other in the recent past, as this one seems to suit him so well at all points. Gal Gadot has a nice emotional role to perform as we see her after all the action in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Antje Traue whom we had seen in Man of Steel and Pandorum gets another tough role to perform, and she might be the strongest of them all. There is also the strength of having Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones in two major roles.
The claws of flaw :: With its tale, Criminal could have surely achieved much more – it is something that we can all be sure about without doubt. The story could have been further developed into something bigger, dealing with brain and memories as Hollywood find it fit. This is an idea which has survived enough to be capable of bringing more, and that could have been something under focus. This is the kind of idea which could even be rather scary when we look at it. To add to the same, most characters are not dealt with well enough either, and there the focus goes limited. It was also strange to see Ryan Reynolds who has been two Marvel superheroes, Deadpool and the Green Lantern being being used so less, with his character dying so early. Alice Eve whom we last saw in a big movie in Star Trek Into Darkness, also gets much less here.
How it finishes :: For some reason, Criminal is a lesser known science fiction thriller around here, but it could have given many other movies a fight at the box-office if it had gained some hype here. Yes, Criminal is a lot better than some of those movies which gained too many positive reviews than they should have. Most of these faults which seem to have been found are not really that much of a problem if you take a deeper look at it and feel what you are really looking for from this movie within its genre. At the same time, Criminal also asks some very interesting questions about what makes a person – is it his memories, his emotions, or what he or others think that he is? Well, maybe all of them along with the situations – but there is a chance that none of them well. Go and see how it is made with the main character in this movie.
Release date: 15th April 2016
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Ariel Vromen
Starring: Kevin Costner, Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve, Michael Pitt, Jordi Molla, Antje Traue, Scott Adkins, Amaury Nolasco, Ryan Reynolds, Colin Salmon, Tommy Hatto, Robert Davi, Richard Reid, Natalie Burn, Lara Decaro
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.