Criminal movie poster

What is the self? Is it simply the accumulation of memories? If you had someone else's, would it change who you are? That's the big existential question that gets no real consideration in this poorly built thriller starring a growly Kevin Costner as a bad man whose frontal lobe is undeveloped enough to receive a memory download from a mostly-dead good man (Ryan Reynolds). (Nasty bonus: before the good guy stuff takes hold, Costner gets to be gleefully brutal without losing the viewer's allegiance.) Gary Oldman plays the world's dumbest CIA chief, and Tommy Lee Jones barely registers as the scientist who makes it all happen. All the ingredients are there for a pleasant pander to grumpy old white men: the craggy actors, the foreign bad guys wielding confusing technology, the kindness of beautiful young women, and the nobility of sacrifice. And director Ariel Vroman handles some of the more personal scenes with something approaching emotional delicacy. But the finished dish is strangely bland and unmemorable. 2016.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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