As Ethan Renner, Costner plays a man on the slow boat to extinction. Now ill, he is stabbed with the realization that his priorities were askew and somehow the bad guys got more face time than the people he loved.
Better than this film, is his 1990 star turn in "Dances with Wolves." That three-hour, character driven movie masterpiece, introduced Costner to a whole generation. And though he's been working, his last showy role in a good film was 2005's 'The Upside of Anger.' There his understatement spoke volumes.
Now, edging toward Sean Connery territory in the past-your-prime plot driven narratives, Costner gets little to work with here. Given his ability to write and direct, seemed he simply let the show go on ...without him. Around him. Under him.
The plot is lackadaisical and wandering, the subplot of a strained father-daughter relationship hardly registers in reality or emotion. A supporting cast of Connie Nielson (as his ex-wife Christine) and Amber Heard as his boss find themselves sans strong direction and despite their proven ability to deliver the acting goods.
Nielsen, as Costner's estranged ex, was pitch perfect in the “Gladiator” playing the sister to a king who fancied her in ways no brother should. Nielsen there constantly fielded a romantic subtext so off-putting and dangerous that the audiences squirmed right along with her.
Nielsen played her royal role creating someone so keenly aware and terrified of the very real danger every encounter wrought. Reject. Submit. Reject. Submit. It was an impossible position handled with deft perfection.
Only a disastrous Tonight Show appearance could and did sink her rising star, mid launch.
As audiences clamored for the beauty behind a restrained and emotive performance that magically overshadowed flawless looks, it turned out the real danger wasn’t her movie brother, it was a 19 inch tube.
As Nielsen plopped on the couch and giggled and guffawed like a giddy awkward teen, the elegant queen she portrayed was no where to be found. In a startling instant, she was no longer the "it" girl.
Emerging decades later in a few cop dramas, Nielsen has yet to find the director or role to unleash her ample talent.
Amber Heard as Vivi DeLay on the other hand, is given little texture to her hard-nosed assassin and is stuck in a role completely underdeveloped and underwritten.
Much like the whole movie. This is a tapestry so loosely woven, so lacking in clear focus or motive that none of the players seem to care about anything. It isn't the actors.
Perhaps t is simply an amateur script, and a director who failed to notice.