“Dragonfly” lacks captivity from “The Sixth Sense” and other thrillers

By on April 11, 2002

Ever since the debut of the “Sixth Sense” phenomenon, thrillers have tried to cross successfully into the genre of heart-wrenching dramas while also tightening your nerves and fists in shocking suspense.
There is not a thriller that attempts to step over that meaningful threshold more than director Tom Shadyac’s “Dragonfly.”
Eloquent drama is as unattainable to this thriller as finding Emily (Susanna Thompson) alive for Joe (Kevin Costner), no matter how much both endlessly try.
Joe loses his wife Emily, a pediatrician, in a tragic bus accident in a Venezuela forest during a nasty rainfall. Looking in on her hospital patients as he promised, Joe discovers that his deceased wife may be trying to contact him through children who have had near death experiences.
On his journey to piece together the puzzle of her message, his sanity unravels and so does an awkward script.
In attempts to be meaningful, the dialogue of this movie falls extremely short and becomes corny. Joe was the lion and Emily was the heart, a sweet metaphor of romantic union that is common in any classic drama.
The way the script sets it up with Costner saying, “I’m a lion without a heart,” it lacks the “You complete me” honesty of love. Another line that was hard to digest, “You’re going buggy in that house,” is typical of the rest of the script.
The acting does not pull it off either. You want to feel bad for this poor guy. He lost his pregnant wife and he’s slowly going insane. But there is no passion in the acting and therefore no sympathy or interest from the audience.
“DragonFly” fails as a true thriller because it is reminiscent of every typical ghost movie. It provides viewers with the cliche of lights being turned on once Joe turns them off. The over done significant object that escapes it’s box and the clothes that are put in the closet and find their way back to the bed when Joe turns his back.
There are few original thrilling concepts. such as the use of a parrot that only spoke when Emily came home that speaks after her death and the reoccurring and therefore chilling symbol of a waterfall.
The film cannot shed the cheesy feeling of a ghost story trying desperately to be something more.
There is a surprise ending, but it’s one that any keen movie-goer can guess. By the guidelines of the much better developed “Sixth Sense,” it fails to have that shocking “Oh My God” response.
The attempt to be both a thriller and a drama is what breaks this movie. It does have scenes where you jump off your seat, but only because the cheap tactic of music or lack-there-of prompt you to.
It has a beautiful concept of love that transcends beyond death. Yet you want to cry in the end because mediocre acting and a poor script just cannot get you over the edge.
The movie states that it is the “belief that gets us there.” Where, I’m not sure. It definitely did not get me to the point of being terrified, thrilled or entertained. It tries to be too much and in the end at best it becomes nothing more then a movie barely worth renting on video.


About Jenn Bartlett