Movie Review: “Criminal”, Starring Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman has taken on multiple challenging roles since his portrayal of Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series. His latest role as Quaker Wells in Criminal unleashes an unexpected raw and energetic side in this action-adventure film.
The film sees the reunion of Gary Oldman, Kevin Costner, and Tommy Lee Jones (who all worked together on JFK) in this thrilling action film. Criminal follows the story of Jerico (Kevin Costner), a death-row inmate who is implanted with the memories of dead CIA Agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) in order to stop an international terrorist. Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman), the head of the London branch of the CIA, in a final attempt to complete the mission, is forced to use Jerico to lead the CIA to the hacker “The Dutchman” (Michael Pitt) before the terrorists get there first.
Director Ariel Vromen – best known for The Iceman – uses this star studded cast to his advantage. The stunning action shots and fight scenes contrast perfectly to the emotionally charged scenes with Jill Pope (Gal Gadot – yes, Wonder Woman) that take you on a conflicting journey. Vromen avoids the traditional clichés of spy thrillers by making the journey of Jerico as addictive as the action scenes, giving the film a refreshing feel. Shot in and around London, England, Vromen has hunted out the gritty, dark side of the city (often unseen in blockbuster films) to give the audience a hint of the secret lives led by the agents.
Kevin Costner’s portrayal of Jerico is gripping from the start. Although repulsing at the beginning, he becomes fascinating and endearing as the film develops: Jarring as this was, every minute is enjoyable. Costner doesn’t shy away from the animalistic behavior of his character, but his deadpan delivery of comic moments makes for many laugh-out-loud moments to break up the intensity of the plot.
Quaker Wells is a steady character throughout. He paced the film when the plot was fast and heavy. Ultimately, he was the quiet driving force behind the action. It was great to see Gary Oldman portray this calculating and profound character that did not shy away from responsibilities (in contrast to Sirius). Fingers crossed for more of this character in the future.
Watch the trailer here:
Criminal will be released April 15 in both the UK (Cert. 15) and the US (R).