Starring: Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, & Gary Oldman
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Twenty years ago, a similar film called Face Off debuted, and while the story seemed ridiculous, somehow it worked. Criminal is in the same boat, as audiences have been kept away by the complicated plot, which also seems to work quite well. The film starts with the brutal murder of a CIA agent, who has a secret vital to national security in his head. Out of desperation, the CIA turns to a doctor and an experimental procedure, which will allow the agents memories to be transferred into someone else's mind. The only problem is that the procedure requires a certain type of mind, the mind of a psychopath. Against his will, Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner) is transferred to CIA headwaters and given the agents memories, but will he become the good agent and help save the world, or will he return to his murderous ways? Kevin Costner stars and reminds us all of what a terrific actor he truly is. It's hard to remember, considering that for the passed two decades he's done mostly romantic garbage, that you couldn't pay me to sit through. Costner returns to action as if he'd never been gone and does an amazing job playing this deeply conflicted, flawed man. Paired with an all-star cast, that features a ton of cameos, Criminal never slows down and will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time. It's not really the CIA crisis or the science fiction that keeps your interest throughout, it's the conflict growing in Jericho Stewart's brain, as he has essential turned into a person that is both good and evil. Yes, the story is a bit complicated, but it is fairly easy to follow, and Kevin Costner gives his best performance in at least a decade, making Criminal well worth the price of admission.