Dragonfly


Directed by: Tom Shadyac
Written by:David Seltzer, Brandon Camp, Mike Thompson
Starring: Kevin Costner, Susanna Thompson, Joe Morton, Ron Rifkin, Kathy Bates, Linda Hunt
Released: August 8, 2002
Grade: B-

All the friends and work colleagues of Dr. Joe Darrow (Costner) think he is losing his mind.  His wife, Emily, was acting as a missionary in Venezuala but was  killed when their bus was struck by a freak landslide.  Her body was never recovered and Joe is having trouble letting her memory go.  It seems everywhere he turns, there are signs of her - clues that something is not settled.

Emily was fascinated by dragonflies and collected anything related to them.  In fact, she even had a small birthmark in the shape of a dragonfly.  When at home, she worked with her husband at the local hospital and whilst Joe worked in the high-tech emergency room, Emily was caring for sick kids in the children’s ward.  Joe never showed too much interest in Emily’s work but now pays these kids a visit to see the great work his wife did.

From this point, the film takes the wrong path.  Joe sees several of these kids die only to be brought back to life thanks to resuscitation.  They return with stories of Emily in the afterlife and draw unusual swiggly pictures with the instructions that Joe must go there.  When other bizarre events start occurring with dragonflies, Joe realises that Emily is trying to reach him but what his message and what does she want?

The film fizzles out with a limp conclusion that is highly illogical.  Rather than focus on Joe’s story, I wanted to know more about these kids and what they saw on the other side.  There’s a nun (Hunt) who was studying these kids only to be ostracised from the hospital for stirring up too many religious issues.  She has a tiny role in the film but I had more interest in her than poor Joe.

Kevin Costner is struggling to find decent films these days and will disappoint fans again here.  It’s a forgettable flick that misses its opportunity to score.  Director Tom Shadyac is responsible for Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor, Liar Liar and Patch AdamsDragonfly is his first chance to branch out from comedy but it doesn’t “fly” and isn’t as creepy as I expected.

Not without some claims, Dragonfly needs more work and a fresh angle.