Movie Review: "Criminal" - Gritty, Real, and Action-Packed

May 18, 2016

For the first time, in my life, I went to the movies BY MYSELF.


Ryan, my husband, was supposed to come with me but, at the last minute, he decided he wanted to play some poker. Cash tables, specifically. So, I ended up at the movies, alone. I definitely didn’t plan it.


Easy, easy. Before you get all riled up, he didn’t abandon me…if I really wanted him to go to the movies with me, he would have. But I didn’t care, and that’s the truth. I want him to enjoy his life, and us being together to watch Criminal was NOT important to me. So, anyway…


I went to go see Criminal, a new action crime drama written by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg and directed by Ariel Vormen. It stars Kevin Costner as Jericho, Gary Oldman as Quaker Wells, Ryan Reynolds as Bill Pope, Gal Gadot as Jill Pope, and Tommy Lee Jones as Dr. Franks.


A CIA agent, Bill Pope, has been killed by a terrorist, Xavier Heimdahl. Before he dies, Pope manages to hide a bag containing a passport and loads and loads of money. The money was meant for the Dutchman, a computer hacker that has successfully infiltrated the United States’ Missile System, in exchange for the decoded software. Now that Pope is dead, the secret location of the bag, and the CIA’s opportunity to recover the software, has died with him…


Or has it?


Dr. Franks has been working, for 18 years, on developing a technology that allows for the transfer of memories. The science has been successfully proven on rats, but never before on humans.


Well, desperate times almost always call for desperate measures.


The CIA enlists Dr. Franks to perform the surgery on Jericho, a sociopathic inmate with a frontal lobe injury. He will attempt to transfer deceased Bill Pope’s memories into Jericho.


But will it work?


Of course, my favorite part of Criminal was the premise…because it’s sci-fi. Transferring memories? I mean, how cool/spooky is that? Can you imagine passing your deepest darkest secrets onto someone else, but unknowingly? I would feel so violated.


The influence sci-fi had over the film was minimal, which worked. It was first, and foremost an action crime drama, and in those genres, it didn’t fail to deliver. The film was suspenseful, and intriguing with intense chase/fight scenes to boot. It held my attention from start to finish.


The only thing I didn’t like, was the lead character, Jericho’s, motivation. He is a sociopath who **SPOILER ALERT** experiences emotions for the first time through Bill Pope’s memories (Kevin Costner KILLED IT in the role, btw). The memories that warm his cold heart are of Pope’s wife and daughter. Saving them becomes his main motivation throughout the rest of the film.


I don’t know…but for me, I just didn’t buy it. Maybe if the filmmakers had put more emphasis on the memory transfer, and its significance to the makeup of the human brain, I would believe that such a thing could have that big of an impact on Jericho’s actions and feelings. I my opinion, the movie also didn't spend enough time on Jericho's own shortcomings and how his brain injury likely impacted the rest of his life.


All in all, I recommend seeing the film…but not in the theater. Even with the film’s action scenes, you can wait to watch this one in your living room.


Oh, and Ryan ended up winning a couple hundred bucks at the tables, so…


All in all, a great little afternoon.


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writer | author | sci-fi storyteller

Lisa Caskey

writer | author | sci-fi storyteller
© 2016 by Lisa Caskey
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