Dragonfly (12)

Review by Jack Foley

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Spotlight on location (13 mins); 8 deleted scenes (11 mins); Betty Eadie segment (6 mins); Audio commentary with director Tom Shadyac.

KEVIN Costner continues to lurch from one misfire to the next in this uneven and overly sentimental drama about a doctor struggling to come to terms with the loss of his wife who becomes convinced that she is trying to contact him from beyond the grave.

Having briefly rallied last year for the compelling Cuban missile crisis thriller, 13 Days, Costner’s CV now reads like that of a distinctly average Hollywood player, and Dragonfly will do little to elevate him back on to A-list status.

Like Message In A Bottle, in which he also played a disheartened widower given a second chance, Costner’s latest is an occasionally effective but frequently turgid affair, prone to contrived scenarios which grate rather than project any emotion.

Little wonder, then, to find that the movie is directed by Tom Shadyac, who debuted with Ace Venture: Pet Detective and then delivered the saccharine-overload that was Patch Adams.

What makes matters worse is that Dragonfly starts so promisingly, with Costner’s grumpy head of emergency services for Chicago Memorial Hospital cutting a suitably forlorn figure as he refuses to treat patients who have brought needless injuries upon themselves.

There are even nods to M Night Shyamalan’s far superior, The Sixth Sense, as Costner’s doctor is haunted by visions and strange coincidences (a dragonfly paperweight, his wife’s personal totem because of a birthmark on her shoulder, is ‘pushed’ to the floor one night), leading him to believe that his wife - killed in a bus crash on a remote mountain road in Venezuela - may be trying to get back in touch.

But from the moment Costner begins contacting his wife’s former patients in the paediatric oncology ward - who claim to have seen his beloved during their own near-death experiences - things take a turn for the worst, resulting in a trip to the rainforests for the good doctor himself and his own near-death encounter.

By the time the movie reaches its drawn-out conclusion some 105 minutes later, it has become so riddled in cliche and so sickly sweet that viewers are likely to be rushing towards their own light at the end of the tunnel - the one bearing the sign for the exit.

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