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Criminal (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 113 minutes.

Not for children.

This is a high octane, edge of your seat thriller. Directed by Ariel Vroman from a script by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg, it is a science fiction chase film with effective performances by Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Gal Gadot, and Michael Pitt.

Despite a close-your-eyes scene of torture at the beginning that did not need to be so graphic, Dr. Franks (Jones) transfers the memory of a deceased CIA agent into the brain of a psychopathic death row convict, Jerico Stewart (Costner). The MacGuffin is that the deceased agent knew the location of a hacker known as “The Dutchman” (Pitt) a person who is being sought by not only the CIA’s peripatetic London chief, Quaker Wells (Oldman) but also by a ruthless anarchist, Xavier Heimdahl (Jordi Molla). As a result, everybody is after Jerico so that they can get the Dutchman. Jerico is understandably confused as he experiences emotions that had been totally foreign to him and he is invaded by thoughts beyond his ken, coming as they do from the deceased agent’s life.

The result is a relatively believable sci-fi Chase film not unduly overloaded with special effects, although there are some in the form of car chases and accidents.

As long as you can accept the premise, which I was able to do, the tension never lets up as Jerico grapples with his new thought pattern that threatens to give him emotions and feelings that had been absent from his life since brain damage suffered as a young child. The film is enhanced by exceptional cinematography by Dana Gonzales.