Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
Starring: Kevin Costner, Joe Morton, Ron Rifkin, Kathryn Erbe, Linda Hunt | Directed by: Tom Shadyac | Produced by: Mark Johnson, Tom Shadyac, Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum | Written by: David Seltzer, Brandon Camp, Mike Thompson | Distributor: Universal Pictures
“Our life is what we imagine—belief is what gets us to the other side.”
This is one of several chunks of philosophy that “Dragonfly” invites its viewers to swallow. What do you believe about eternity and life after death? What do you believe about people that have “near-death experiences”? Do you believe that our loved ones can communicate to us from the other side? These questions and more are settled soundly in scripture. “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) Jesus declared in Luke 16 the biblical reality that there “is between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us” (verse 26).
Letting loved ones go into eternity is difficult. I know that first hand as I lost my grandparents in a tragic car accident, plus my forty-nine year-old father to an accident in the hospital. We hear their voices through many memories and reminders. While we see their images in old photographs and letters, they do not audibly talk to us.
In “Dragonfly”, Kevin Costner takes us on a Psychic trip into the world of reincarnation, consulting spirits, and alternative views of eternity. Our story begins with Dr. Joe Darrow (Kevin Costner) losing his wife, Emily (Susanna Thompson) in a tragic accident. She was on board a Red Cross bus in Venezuela trying to save lives. The bus plunges into a ravine during a storm. The bodies are never recovered. Dr. Darrow deals with his loss and grief by throwing himself into his work. His friends and co-workers express their concern for his well-being. Our fatigued hero begins to see supernatural revelations of his wife through her favorite insect, the dragonfly. This fondness becomes the vehicle for Emily to try and communicate with her husband. The problem is there are many mixed signals and it appears that our Doctor is beginning to lose touch with reality. Joe’s quest takes him on a perilous journey that could have professional consequences.
The film does deliver some chilling moments. Dean Semler once again delivers some outstanding cinematography. Costner turns in a performance that is much better than his role in “Message in a Bottle” and “3,000 Miles to Graceland” (what a dud!). Universal also did a great job of not spoiling the primary plot points in the movie through the trailer (something to which I personally object). The subject matter is the primary offense that some Christians may find. There is little profanity, sex, and violence. But the PG-13 rating should be observed. (There is some nudity and partial nudity filmed in the tradition of National Geographic). I did like the ending to the film, I just didn’t like the psychic ride to get to the destination.
“Dragonfly” is a better-than-average matinee flic, but one you could wait to rent.
Year of Release—2002