Amy Mackelden reconsiders Kevin Costner, mainly so you don’t have to. You’re extremely welcome.
(SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: 3 Days to Kill plot points)
Since turning 30, I’ve learned to appreciate life’s simple pleasures: the uncomplicated joy of Matt Damon’s torso, the restorative powers of a gin cocktail. One thing I swore I’d never do, though, is enjoy a Kevin Costner film. Particularly since that Man of Steel fiasco which involved our Kev trying to teach Clark Kent life’s important lessons (let people die, don’t save them – wait, what? Something about that sounds very un-Supermanny?) The first thing to solidify this boycott long precedes Steel, and was actually Rumor Has It, a Jennifer Aniston film (bow before my Lord and Saviour), in which Costner plays a man presumed to be Jen’s biological dad. However, on meeting each other, he manages to disprove this theory with the most simple of sentences: “I’m not your father.” They make out immediately (AND MORE). Um, can we get a paternity test up in this bitch, before we undress, like, maybe? The creep factor of this exactly summed up how I felt about Costner. Plus, Robin Hood and that fucking 16 weeks at number 1 Bryan Adams music video which, by week 13, Top of the Pops could only bare to play ten whole seconds of, always including Costner shooting an arrow at the screen (not a euphemism: might vom actually).
But something has happened lately. Someone sent Kev a memo that read, “Stop being so serious, brah!” or he looked in the mirror, a full face of stubble, and thought to himself, “I have potential to be a serious player of the later life Liam Neeson variety.” And in 3 Days to Kill, he is exactly that. Any film whose synopsis includes the words “terminally ill” doesn’t usually get my money, because there aren’t enough tissues in the world. But it was the only thing on I hadn’t yet seen, so I did it, I went. And please don’t tell anyone important or shit, but I really fucking enjoyed it.
A brief synopsis is this. Costner’s in a bad way. He collapses during a shoot-out and is near immediately given 3 months to live (lung cancer via brain, eek). This makes him reevaluate his life and he moves back to Paris, to be near his daughter and estranged wife. He just wants more time with them. Then appears Amber Heard with the most fantastic hair of all time, who offers him an experimental drug that could prolong his life if he does one last job for her. How could he possibly say no? I’m sure this sounds like standard fare and, you know what? It is. It’s action movie with sentimental edge. Think Taken, but funny. Which makes sense, because this is Luc Besson too, another father/daughter relationship under scrutiny, completely central to the movie, but nowhere near as dark as Taken‘s human trafficking. The closest this gets to Taken is when Costner’s daughter is assaulted in a nightclub bathroom, and the next day appears clueless as to why this is a problem, berating her dad for embarrassing her in public by punching a set of creepos ’til they bleed. Deserved, I reckon.
The Breaking Bad link goes further than Saul Goodman claiming to have convinced a woman he was the actor, one time. When Kevin was riding round Paris on his bicycle, checking out the Eiffel Tour and other tourist trash, during a montage early in the movie, the Walter White similarity smacked me in the face. Jesus, I’m super slow lately. And I felt totally ridic for fearing the terminal angle because The Fault in Our Stars this is not (and that’s a story for another day, POS). Because Costner here is loveable villain, family man returning to crime again and again because it pays and he needs to give his family everything he can, while he can. They hate him working, but he has to. He can’t stop. And his time’s limited. Costner was a surprisingly good fit for this. Age suits him, as does stubble. And I’ve never taken him more seriously than I do grey. Because it’s truly a badge of honour here. He looks tired and it’s super hot. A man about to give up, through choice, or otherwise, put him on a platter and send room service up. He’s not perky, or trying too hard, or trying to seduce a sitcom cast member. And total applause to the screenwriters for making Amber Heard’s hot spy boss character have no real sexual interest in Kev whatsoever. She’s omnisexual and it’s refreshing, because all too oft our male lead gets paired with a much much much much much younger female counterpart. Not here. Amber is fierce, most interested in her strip club cover and the women she ‘trains’ there. Kevin focusses on his wife. All is right in this version of the world. Plus, he looks great in a suit.
I really can’t recommend 3 Days to Kill enough, if you like ridiculous, fast-paced action movies, with a heavy spattering of schmaltz, chocolate-chip laced from start to finish. Plus, the the final show down is LOL funny (slap me in the face for saying that, but it is). I was the only one in the screen at the time, don’t worry about me too much. Another just stupid film which Costner’s been in this year is Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Before I talk about how amazing Kevin is in this movie, also, I need to embarrassing him, a little, with this self-righteous quote.
Sure, Kevin, don’t spit on your life. But you gots to pay the bills, am I right? I’m fairly sure Jack Ryan is a franchise at this point, or unnecessary reboot. Either way, Costner’s swagger in this movie, as a CIA agent no less, is akin to 3 Days to Kill, in that a lot of the time his aura screams “GIVE A SHIT”. And seriously, Kevin not trying, completely works. My favourite scene is when he meets our eponymous hero in a public place, and brings a dog with him as a cover, so it looks like he’s out for an evening stroll. Turns out he stole the dog, totes irresponsible, but in the name of justice, so whatevs. Pretty sure he’s winking to audience for each scene he’s in, especially the kidnapped dog walk. Almost feels like he wandered on to the set accidentally, and maybe he did. I’m glad that he did. I much prefer this not-care-son-of-a-bitch-acting-style he’s got going on now.
In summation, this probably doesn’t make me a fan, per se, but actors self-mocking, softening up, I like muchly, and I haven’t enjoyed a Costner film this way since Mr. Brooks, where he played a serial killer, which strangely suited him like he’d been sewn into a hand-crafted skin suit of, like, someone else’s skin or something. Plus this whole anti-hero, lead in a desperate situation, is way more interesting and connectable, because who isn’t in a fucked up place right now? If I thought too hard about it, I’d question if the reason I just wrote an article about Kevin Costner is because I’m actually royally screwed up. But let’s not overanalyse, yeah? Let’s all just stand in this moment, with Kevin, and hold hands, and cuddle.