COSTNER hearing about his wife's restless ghost.
photo: Saturn entertainment
Running time: 92 min.
Starring: Kevin Costner, Susanna Thompson, Kathy Bates, Joe Morton, Ron Rifkin, Linda Hunt
Directed by: Tom Shadyac
Rating: 3 out of 10
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IN DRAGONFLY (2002), the world of the dead mingles with the world of the living. The result, unfortunately, is less thrilling than the film's backers may have intended.
Paediatrician Emily Darrow (Susanna Thompson) works at the same hospital as her husband Joe (Kevin Costner), who is the head of the emergency ward. In an attempt to relive the ideals of her youth, the altruistic - and eight-month pregnant - Emily joins a Red Cross mission to help the poor in Venezuela. She dies when her bus plunges into a canyon.
Joe is desperate. He struggles to overcome the loss until strange things begin to happen in the hospital. Patients in the oncology department who have had 'near-death experiences' start to recognise him as "Emily's Joe" - the husband of a woman they have all met in "the tunnel" in their dreams. Joe interprets this as a sign that his wife is trying to reach him from "the other side".
With its lack of inspiration and original scary elements, Dragonfly remains a very bad version of its smash-hit predecessor on afterlife experiences, The Sixth Sense (Night Shyamalan, 1999). The film gives us little besides a grief-wracked Costner and recycled scenes such as the clinically dead boy suddenly opening his eyes, the corpse in the pathology room coming to life again, etc.
The movie also doesn't seem to worry about realism, either in its special effects or in the motives of its characters. Why, for instance, would a woman in late pregnancy throw up her hospital job and bolt for the jungle of a South American country? Not that we really care, but why?
Costner makes a decent job of his role as the grieving husband, certainly better than his normal outing. But given the pitiful plot and weary directing, one expects to find less grief in his expression than perplexity that this dog ever made it to the screen, let alone across the Atlantic Ocean.