I have to admit I wasn’t exactly sold on this movie from the first time I saw the trailer. My Dad wanted to see it and I never turn down a movie, so off to the movies I went. If you have noticed a theme in my reviews, aka the mentioning of my Dad, that’s because we go to the movies together, always have ever since I was a little girl. It’s a tradition I want to keep going too. Criminal is directed by Ariel Vromen (RX and The Iceman) and runs for 113 minutes.
Criminal starts off by seeing Bill Pope (played by Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool and The Proposal), a CIA operative, attempting to get out of London. He’s being followed and knows that he might not get out alive, calling his wife Jill (played by Gal Gadot, Fast Five and Batman vs. Superman) one last time.
Bill is being hunted by Xavier Heimdahl (played by Jodi Molla, Riddick and Blow) because he hid Jan Stroop aka “The Dutchman” (played by Michael Pitt, Boardwalk Empire and Funny Games) after he created a wormhole program that would allow anyone using the program to get ahold of the world’s nuclear defense codes. Bill is caught and tortured by Xavier but doesn’t give up where Dutchman is. However, Bill’s boss doesn’t know where the Dutchman is either and with him hidden and time running out to get the program from him, they need to find a way to get the information out of a now dead Bill. Desperate, CIA supervisor Quaker Wells (played by Gary Oldman, The Dark Knight and The Fifth Element) contacts Dr. Mahal Franks (played by Tommy Lee Jones, Men in Black and Captain America) who has been doing researching for almost two decades on the memory patterns in the human brain. He has developed a treatment to theoretically plant memories from one person to another. Franks requests the person to get the memories be a convict named Jericho Stewart (played by Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves and Waterworld). He has special traits due to childhood brain trauma that left him with an underdeveloped frontal lope. His emotions are under developed and his impulse control is basically no existent.
As you can imagine a lot of things go wrong. First being that Jericho is the first human to test out Frank’s treatment and they do not know how he will react or if he will remember anything at all. Needless to say the treatment is painful for Jericho and he has horrible headaches to start (my guess worse than migraines the way he was complaining). After giving him some medication and with Jericho having trouble remembering, they send him back to prison but Jericho escapes and starts to follow the memories that came from Bill, right to Bill’s home.
He breaks in and questions Jill. She sets off the silent alarm and out of nowhere Jericho seems to know information and people the only way Bill would know. He leaves however, no wanting to really harm Jill or her daughter, Emma. Needing more meds to get the headaches down, he contacts Dr. Franks. Franks realizes the Jericho has developed an emotional connection to Jill and Emma. Jericho has promised that once he finds the money, he is going to give some of it to Jill. He just has to find it and he knows it’s at a library somewhere in London.
“You hurt me… I hurt you worse.” – Jericho
He starts to retrace Bill’s steps to find where the Dutchman is hidden but Xavier has other plans. He wants the money and the Dutchman and sends out his “henchmen” to follow Jericho. Xavier uses Facial Recognition software to flag someone at the airport to look like the Dutchman to draw Quaker’s attention there and away from Jericho. Elsa (played by Antje Traue, Man of Steel and Woman in Gold) one of the henchmen, follows Jericho but he escapes, driving off of a bridge. His leg is cut badly as he gets out of the car and he heads back to Bill’s house to get himself cleaned up. Jill finds him in the process of stitching himself back together and explains what is going on fully to her. Through their conversation he is able to determine that the bag of money is at the University of London Library, where Jill works. It is locked away in the rare books collection that Jill has a key for. Jericho makes his way through but sadly, Xavier is waiting with Elsa. Meanwhile, his other henchmen have taken Jill and Emma hostage, forcing Jericho to take Xavier to where the Dutchman is hidden, now that Jericho remembers.
Jericho escapes and goes to the Dutchman, getting to him before Elsa does. He’s knocked out and Elsa kills the Dutchman. Jericho gets back up, killing Elsa with a lamp. The program is on a flash drive now, since the computer is destroyed. Jericho follows Xavier to an airfield where he is attempting to escape, threatening to kill Jill and Emma if he doesn’t get the flash drive. Jericho arrives, gives him the flash drive and Xavier flies off after Jericho has once again been shot. The twist in all of this, if you’re thinking well the bad guy wins, is that Jericho had the Dutchman reprogram the wormhole to go to the exact location where it has been activated, to destroy itself. Jericho passes out and clearly some time has passed. Franks and the CIA are waiting to see if Jericho remembers anything from Bill’s life, since the memories were beginning to fade. Jericho taps his nose, which was Bill’s sign to Jill that he loved her.
“You don’t remember me but I remember you.” – Emma
Overall the movie develops a good plot but it doesn’t really take it anywhere special. There are about 35 minutes that could’ve been taken out, but I get they were trying to build the characters up. I find it also hard to believe that Jill would be okay with this guy and just think well I guess since you have my dead husband’s memories I can be with you now. At least that is what you are made to believe. I like desperation of the CIA and I’m not sold on the idea of memory implantation. I just think there is way too much about the human brain and how we remember things for someone to just go in and plant them into someone else. That would be the sci-fi part of the movie. I give it 7 out of 10 starts.