User Reviews (139)

Add a Review

  • Some aspects of this film work better than others, but overall A PERFECT WORLD is a highly watchable film. Kevin Costner delivers a fine performance as escaped convict Butch Haynes. The film primarily focuses on the relationship between Haynes and an innocent 8 year old boy named Phillip whom he kidnaps and befriends (well played by TJ Lowther). Haynes has killed two people thus far and gives the impression of a being a loose cannon, but Eastwood evokes sympathy for the character as the audience learns about Haynes troubled childhood (raised without a father by a prostitute mother - killed a man by the age of 8) and observe his genuine care and concern for the boy. Their relationship is reminiscent of Allan Ladd and the young boy in SHANE. As he slowly feeds us more information about Hayne's history, and lets the audience wrestle with its ambivalent feelings towards Costner's character, Eastwood keeps the film moving with lots of close brushes with the law, car chases and shoot'em ups.

    Where the film doesn't work quite is when Eastwood himself is in front of the camera, playing a minor role - Chief Red Garnett - a Texas Ranger who's in charge of Haynes' capture. The primary function of his character, and Laura Dern's (who plays Sally Gerber - a criminologist the Governor forces upon the Chief) in the script is to supply further information about Haynes' past. Unfortunately, Eastwood tries to flesh out the relationship between these characters through antagonistic chauvinist attitudes towards Gerber and creating a power struggle between the two which (big surprise!) over the course of the film, gradually leads to a mutual respect between them! Granted Eastwood and Dern have marquee value - especially Eastwood, are fine in their roles, and, of course, chauvinism was alive and well in 1960's Texas, but I mostly found these minor subplots annoying and unnecessary. It's the scenes and issues focusing on Costner's character that are the life blood of this picture. This criticism aside, Eastwood does a solid job directing, weaving action, suspense and thought provoking human drama into a well knit weave and Costner delivers one of the best acting performances of his career.

    7 1/2 out of 10
  • Kevin Costner's career has been in a downward spiral (to say the least) over recent years. Now it seems like even people who admired him at first are suddenly forfeiting their compliments and jumping on the bandwagon, along with the rest of the Costner haters. Well, I'm not gonna jump on that bandwagon. This movie is sheer proof that Costner is a wonderful actor capable of playing characters of multiple dimensions. Here, he's given the challenge of playing a likable villain, without having us forget that he has criminal tendencies. I'm not condoning criminals, but do you honestly think every criminal in the world is a cold-blooded motherf***er with not a single scruple? They're human beings like everyone else, only they choose to live dishonest lives. In other words, the easy way out--at least that's what they think.

    Costner played a completely one-dimensional villain in "3,000 Miles to Graceland," but it was fitting to the tone of that film, which plays out like a comic book fantasy. His character of Butch is much more realistic, and his main scruple is treating children like dirt. He himself was treated like dirt as a child, and whenever he sees mothers or fathers do the same to their children, he goes nuts and sometimes homicidal. A very interesting character, which Costner plays to absolute perfection.

    I have a theory about movies. Whenever you have an adult story (excluding children's and family-oriented material) involving a child in a major role, the movie often turns out either good or great. This one turned out great. Good movies come more often than you think. Great movies don't come quite that often. A real motion picture experience is when you get lost in the story to the point where you feel you're right there with the characters, and not sitting on your couch watching these characters on a TV screen. This is one of those experiences.

    The film is totally character-driven, which also appeals to me. It took me a journey through the lives of Butch and the young boy. I felt a deep connection to each of them. The ending had me pouring with tears.

    I have to give it up for Clint Eastwood, who usually scores behind and in front of the camera. The film runs a little over 2 hours, but when you have solid characters like these the time flies by in a snap. Hell, "Corky Romano" was under 90 minutes long and I may as well as have been watching it for 10 hours. The most powerful scene, in my opinion, is when Butch and the boy stay over the home of the black slave. Butch sees the way the father physically abuses his son, and goes to the extent of tying him down to a couch. He then forces the father to say "I love you" to his son, like he really means it.

    "A Perfect World" is a film I'll never forget, and I'm so damn glad I spent my 14.99 to purchase the DVD. I have only one very minor complaint: the guy who plays Philip overacts like crazy in a cartoonish performance.

    My score: 9 (out of 10)
  • In 1952, Charles Crichton had produced a successful suspenseful movie with a derivative premise: a man (an excellent Dirk Bogarde) compelled to take a brat hostage with him because he was the witness of his murder and to flee with him across Britain to escape the police. This journey had brought the two runaways together and Bogarde eventually felt real love and care for his young hostage. Crichton (I find it hard to believe that it's the same man who 36 years later will cook "a Fish Called Wanda", 1988!) had construed his topic with a lot of reserve and sensitivity which bestowed his wonderful piece of work with pathos and tenderness.

    40 years later, Clint Eastwood, freshly showered with praise for his dusky "Unforgiven" (1992) takes back this formula for a flick which basically was to be directed by Steven Spielberg but the latter had a lot to do with "Schindler's List" (1994), probably his finest moment. The amount was "a Perfect World" (1993) and it deserves better than the lukewarm reviews it received and stands as a winner in Eastwood's eclectic filmography. In spite of a few installments in its second part that one can deem as overlong, it has enough commendable stuff to grab the audience.

    First, Eastwood's vehicle is helped by the work of John Lee Hancock who 4 years later will pen the scenario for another Eastwood flick: "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" (1997). Because it eschews the formulaic ingredients of the movie genre, "a Perfect World" deals with and it encompasses various tones: from the droll moments Kevin Costner goes through with his young hostage to gripping scenes which incommodes the audience (the scene when Costner holds the black family in their living room with a song he hadn't heard for years), the script takes the viewer by surprise. It's true that suspense takes a back seat during most of the viewing but Eastwood's flick has other stuff in store. In the favorable reviews, it has been said that the relationships between Costner and his young partner were highly interesting. From their first confrontation, Costner has an evident interest in the little boy, a nagging curiosity that will grow throughout his run. In this way, his attitude, at least in the outset of the film is quite different from Bogarde's. The latter realizing that he has no other choice to take his brat with him expresses at first hostility and scorn before starting to get interested in him. Not Costner who is clearly interested with his hostage from the outset and for whom he feels affection. In the two flicks, the little boys may see in Bogarde and Costner the father figures they never had. Their households are characterized by an absence of father. As for Costner, he unveils to his partner, scraps of his anterior life which might explain one of his attitudes towards him. Maybe, he tries to play his role of father and this way to get close to him: "we have a lot of things in common you and me: we love Coke, we never had father". He wants to make him discover a new life, a freer and more maverick one in which anything goes (he asks him to write the things he craves to do).

    Nature plays a momentum role in "a Perfect World": it surrounds the characters and is of a vivacious green which symbolizes bliss and hope. In this perfect world, the two main protagonists try to search for support, friendship, bliss but impending danger waits around the corner.

    Eastwood's flick was also decried because the other sequences of the film in which Eastwood and his crew appear were rather weak. I don't think so. True the character of Laura Dern is a little formulaic but in one sequence the most important members offer their vision of a perfect world. And even if here he doesn't hold the main role, Clint Eastwood has a prime secondary part. The cast is a major asset of the film. The little boy is directed with care and respect and Eastwood gave Costner his last great hour, given the duds in which he acted afterward: the horrible "Waterworld" (1995), a waste of money and time and the insipid "Postman" (1997).

    Coming after a pinnacle in his career, "Unforgiven", I feel that Eastwood wasn't hampered by this critical and commercial triumph and broke new ground in the fugitive movie with this startling piece of work. Give this movie a chance. It deserves it. And if you have the chance to see "Hunted", don't think twice. Eastwood's flick compares favorably with its 40 year old model. And after the projection, try to ask yourself this question: what is a perfect world?
  • And certainly one of the most underrated pictures on IMDB. Why? Beats me, since this is one of the best performances from Costner & Eastwood. Not to mention the others.

    Maybe it's the movie a little bit slow at start, but soon we get too see a strong character development, what leads us to the grand finale, where we cheer for the outlaw and his little "partner" (also very good performance by T.J. Lowther). The ending is undoubtedly one of the most touching in the history of cinema.

    All in all, Costner did great both as director and actor and he had a winning hand picking up co-actors and screen & music writers. Plus, he made this movie in the nineties era, one of the best, if not the best for Hollywood movies.

    That's for it's just pure classic. Just like the Texas landscape where it was taken.

    9 out of 10.
  • Simply a great movie. I gained a new respect for Costner after seeing this movie. He's always good as baseball players and cowboys, but this character is really a perfect fit for Costner. Combines all the elements that add up to a great Costner performance: humor (Crash Davis from Bull Durham)+ dark violence seething under the surface (Charly from Open Range)+ Child-like enthusiasm (Ray Cansella from Field of Dreams). Severely underrated, A Perfect World stands right up there Eastwood's best behind the camera achievements. And in case you haven't figured this out yet; Eastwood is the man, so do yourself a favor and check this movie out.
  • aidosh9412 October 2007
    If you want a fast-paced philosophical drama with quite possibly the saddest ending to a movie you've ever seen, then this is the film for you... A Perfect World drains you emotionally and that's why this amazing film is worth watching once, and not over and over again.

    You can't go wrong with a movie directed by Clint Eastwood, who also plays the U.S. Marshal. Kevin Costner gives the greatest performance of his career (except for maybe JFK) and the little boy is played impressively by 7-year-old T.J Lowther. What makes A Perfect World so great is that it's got flaws, but still manages to hold you glued to your TV and make you not want to miss a thing. Be ready to laugh, cry and ponder upon what life would be if we lived in a perfect world.
  • An average story made good by quality acting. Kevin Costner turned in one of his best performances. Just as his character would start to win you over because of his positive interactions with the boy, he'd do something awful and remind you that he's really a bad guy and that he'd taken the boy hostage. So even though he's a criminal, he's got a good side and obviously his bad upbringing took him down the wrong path in life. I though TJ Lowther was also excellent as the boy and was very believable. On the other side is Clint Eastwood as the tough law man who cares more about catching his criminal than making his bosses happy. And last, but not least, Laura Dern was also very good as Clint's cohort in catching the bad guy. While Clint relies on his years of experience, she comes from the psychological side and what she's read in books. They often disagree, but there is a mutual respect between them even if they don't show it. There are enough light moments to keep this otherwise serious movie from being a turn off.

    *** (Out of 4)
  • An intelligent and resourceful prison escapee named Butch Haynes (Kevin Costner) takes an eight-year-old boy (T.J. Lowther) hostage, as Haynes roams across Texas in the early 1960s. Meanwhile, the authorities, headed by a Texas Ranger (Clint Eastwood), set out to capture Haynes, in an Airstream trailer.

    Costner does a fine job as Haynes, an interesting character who happens to like waltz music. Lowther is equally good in his role, a boy who comes from a family whose religious beliefs are quite strict. On their sojourn, the boy acquires, and sometimes wears, a Casper-the-friendly-ghost mask, a symbol of childhood innocence that contrasts nicely with the seriousness of a dangerous hostage situation.

    The relationship between Haynes and the kid evolves into a kind of father-son union, wherein Haynes does most of the talking, and the kid reacts, usually with clever, nonverbal expressions. It's a good acting arrangement that plays up the strengths of both actors. It's the best element of the film.

    Throughout their odyssey, a collection of oldies pop songs helps to capture the early 1960's era, though I could have wished that the volume had been turned up. Haynes' goal is Alaska, but he doesn't quite get there, and the film ends much more interestingly than it began.

    The main problem with the film is the plot. It gets off to a hokey, contrived start. And, throughout the film, the law enforcement component does not work at all. It comes across as stereotyped, irritating, unnecessary, and it is not funny despite attempts to make it funny. You get the feeling you're watching reruns of "The Dukes Of Hazard", especially with that corny trailer.

    Even so, the film is worth watching, for the acting accomplishments of Costner and Lowther, and for the interesting dialogue that takes place between their two characters.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Violence is something I've tried to move away from." - Eastwood

    Most of Clint Eastwood's early films were reactionary fantasies. Later in his career he actively set out to repudiate the messages of these films. And so from the late 1980s onwards he'd specialise in flicks which meditate upon violence, critique machismo, flawed father figures and supposedly put forth "anti violence" messages, though in most cases ("Unforgiven", "Gran Torino" etc) what these films do and pretend to do are completely at odds. Still, Eastwood's films during the second half of his career sometimes went interesting places, the best examples of which are probably "White Hunter, Black Heart" and "A Perfect World".

    Set in 1963, the year President JFK was assassinated, "A Perfect World" stars Kevin Costner as an escaped convict who kidnaps a seven year old boy, uses the kid as a hostage, and flees cross-country in a stolen car. Costner is pursued by a team of Texas Rangers, led by Eastwood. While the film sports all the totems of the road/pursuit/Texan/cat-and-mouse movie – lots of evocative shots of rural Texas, trigger happy law enforcement officers, car chases, an episodic plot etc – Eastwood's film functions more as a meditation on the genre; think "Sugarland Express" or "Thelma and Louise" as written by a bleeding heart criminal psychologist. And so rather than a cat-and-mouse game, the film's law enforcement officials are mostly inept, are given no generic action set pieces and spend the film lethargically pontificating and/or dwelling on their target's psychology, history and motivations. Fairly radical, the film then explicitly blames Eastwood's character for causing Costner's descent into criminality. It is rare for a film to reject essentialism, but "World" does this, portraying Costner as a victim of social exclusion and social/structural forces, all of which were exasperated when a hard-lined cop (Eastwood, literally playing an elderly, introspective Dirty Harry) unnecessarily sentenced Coaster to prison as a kid, a place where he was "reformed" into a super-criminal. The message: Dirty Harry causes crime, the social/state creates the personal, and authoritarian, right-wing justice has long term negative effects, even if they occasionally have short term gains.

    The film's title - "A Perfect World" - however, injects an air of ambiguity. Wild West justice has horrible ripples, the film says, but we're positioned to side with Costner when he murders a paedophile. Elsewhere Eastwood challenges us with a daring, unconventional, prolonged last act sequence in which the once lovable Costner abuses a family (a black family no less; a middle finger to liberals). The film also features an interesting, if woefully underused character played by Laura Dern. She's a criminal psychologist, the effeminate, touchy-feely foil to the ageing Eastwood, a woman who challenges Dirty Harry's conceptions of law and crime prevention.

    The film features a woefully overextend final act, too much false moments and forced pathos, is 30 minutes too long and contains a predictable/sappy ending in which Costner is gunned down, but nevertheless remains one of Eastwood's best. T. J. Lowther, who plays the kid Costner kidnaps, is also given a good "coming of age" arc. His performance is powerfully raw at times.

    It's "World's" plot, though, which makes it stand out. At its core it pits "Right realism", which focuses on control, containment and punishment, against the soft rehabilitation of "Left realism". Each side of the spectrum criticises the other, one painted as too hard-nosed and futile, the other too impractical, sympathetic and obsessed with causes. In the 1980s, academics ("Crime and Human Nature" by Wilson and Herrnstein) began to put forth more nuanced explanations of crime, considering biological, social and genetic factors, whilst in the 90s some studies (Murray's "Bell Curve") began to revert to Darwinist connotations, by attributing crime to low impulse control, low intelligence, "poor socialisation", genes and "excessive extroversion". Political scientist Charles Murray would go so far as to blame the "generous revolution" of the welfare state for crime. In the 80s, Right realists began to turn to theorists like Ron Clarke, who asserted that Rational Choice Theory "proves" that individuals have free will and the power of reason and should therefore be punished harshly. Left realists counter this and take a more existential position, turning to neuroscience to question the very nature of free will, autonomy and consciousness. In the 21st century, studies began officially debunking links between IQ and crime whilst right realists were accused of focusing on petty street crime whilst ignoring larger, corporate/state crimes, which are demonstrably more costly/harmful. The Right's zero tolerance policy began to once again be accused of leading to discrimination and racism, and several studies were published which debunked the long-standing notion that "tough" policies reversed rising crime rates during the 1970s-90s.

    Existing outside the left/right divide you then have anarchists who typically romanticise working class criminals. Left realists argue working class criminals mostly victimise other working class people; not the rich. The right thinks they're both insane. Marxist scientists ignore all groups from an aloof perch. For them, all crime is a matter of economics. Today numerous studies (Lea and Young etc) corroborate the seemingly obvious; aside from crimes of passion, crime is overwhelmingly due to deprivation and (economic) marginalisation. Some counter this: poverty was high in the 1930's but crime low (and increases with rises in living standards). Enter relativity. Professor W.G. Runcimans starts using the concept of relative deprivation to explain the paradox. For him, an ideology of individualism, self interest at the expense of others and individual rights cause crime and social disintegration (undermining values of mutual support and selflessness). Right realists accuse this of sounding like nutty commie perversions. And on and on the dance goes. Eastwood is rare in that he has existed on both extremes of the pendulum.

    8/10 – See Kloves' "Flesh and Bone". Worth one viewing.
  • Clint Eastwood is an outstanding Director. He directs A Perfect World masterly and we really feel en emotional involvement with the characters and the story.

    T.J. Lowther is fantastic as the boy kidnapped by Butch (Kevin Costner), and it is great to see an unlikely friendship develop between the two despite their huge difference in background and age. Costner becomes almost like a father figure for Buzz, and the ending is slightly overdrawn and predictable, but is nonetheless deeply saddening.

    Costner gives a great performance as the escaped convict, and despite his homicidal tendencies, we actually feel empathy towards him at some points of the film and feel that he is actually a casualty of bad circumstances rather than a blood thirsty killer.

    Eastwood himself plays a reliable part as Chief Red Garnett, but he is very much in the background and he plays a bit-part character as he tries to track down Costner.

    I am a big fan of Clint Eastwood both as a Director and actor. If you want to watch a film that really engages you in watching character development and does not focus on action, then this is a must-see.
  • There are numerous directions Clint Eastwood and screenwriter John Lee Hancock could've taken in his film, A Perfect World, and the one he sucks up and follows is a brave, endearing roller-coaster of emotion, sentiment, and commentary all providing slick and clean moments robbed of mawkish sequences. This is the seventeenth directing effort by Eastwood himself, cementing the fact that the question of whether or not he is a better actor or director can never be answered. There are far too many examples to back up both.

    A Perfect World begins by showing us a deeply depraved, saddening family of devout Jehovah's Witnesses. Phillip Perry (T.J. Lowther) is a young boy, victim to not having birthdays, holidays, or events that pack in true joy for a child because of his mother's preposterous rules. His two sisters are too the victims. When a robbery is committed in the house, Kevin Costner's "Butch" Haynes takes the kid as a hostage, and Butch's loudmouth partner just waves a gun around and causes mayhem.

    When he is finally abandoned long after the robbery, Butch and Phillip discover they have a lot more in common with each other than they could've imagined. Butch's dad was never around, and his mother was a prostitute, accompanied by men they couldn't care less about him. Phillip's dad is a simple deadbeat, never there and never going to be. The film shows how destructive and possibly dehumanizing it can be without a prominent male influence in your life. I'm blessed to have two caring parents and that has helped me in more ways than I can imagine.

    It's big shame that many grow up today fatherless. An argument could be made about what is tougher; growing up with no mother, or no father. Without a father, you don't get the "time to be a man" talk, you never feel you can ask personal body questions to anyone, and this leads to the lack of parental supervision, causing kids to perhaps meander the streets aimlessly. Without a mother, you've lost the softness every person must occupy. You lack the necessity of, maybe, truly being safe and cared for. Sure a man could do so, but answer me this; when children cry, do they want mommy or daddy? I've trailed off course. A subplot of A Perfect World involves Eastwood's Texas Ranger Red Garnett and his crew on hot pursuit, destined to find Butch and Phillip. The subplot sounded so obligatory on paper, but writer Hancock is intelligent about keeping it a minimal occurrence. Not to mention, it isn't as intrusive or as dopey as it seems. It's actually taken with a lot of seriousness and heart.

    Performance-wise, the film is around the clock superb. Much acclaim is due to Costner's character, who is serenely nuanced enough to make a true, memorable character. He has an outer-layer of cruelty but an inner layer of gooey anti-cynicism which comes forth very quickly. T.J. Lowther is spunky and charismatic as little Phillip, and Eastwood, do I even need to say it? Is incredible.

    A Perfect World may extend a bit over the recommended time limit, but few, few spots are dry, the script is always attentive, and the casting and directing style of Eastwood is fitting and balanced. This is probably Costner's most dedicated and engaging performances, yet due to the moderate box office receipts and the minimal impact, it has likely made him reconsider serious roles. Same thing could possibly go for Robert De Niro. It's undoubtedly easier to immerse yourself into a character that is thin, vacuous, and dull than one that is developed, deep, and potential-ridden. Eastwood has made a sentimental gem of a picture, with topics that hit seemingly hit every note but.

    Starring: Kevin Costner, T.J. Lowther, and Clint Eastwood. Directed by: Clint Eastwood.
  • Continuing my plan to watch every Kevin Costner movie in order, I come to 1993's A Perfect World.

    Plot In A Paragraph: Butch Haynes (KC) escapes from prison and kidnaps a young boy (T.J. Lowther) In hot pursuit is a Texas Ranger, Red Garrett (Clint Eastwood)

    A Perfect World is not a great movie, it's an underrated masterpiece that has somehow slipped through the cracks, despite great reviews (I remember one saying "You'll be Unforgiven For Missing A Perfect World) it was overlooked on its initial release, and has been largely forgotten since.

    On paper, the film should have produced an instant box office hit. KC was Hollywoods golden boy, producing hit after hit (Dances With Wolves, Prince Of Thieves, JFK and The Bodyguard) whilst Eastwood had just won a pair of Oscars for Unforgiven, and had a hit with In The Line Of Fire, yet for some reason audiences stayed away. The trailers didn't really help, as they were uninspiring to say the least, and didn't convey the tone of the movie at all.

    I urge everybody to revisit it. Not only because A Perfect World features the best performance of KC's career, it may also the best movie Clint Eastwood has directed, yes I am including my own personal favourite, The Outlaw Josie Wales and Oscar winning Unforgiven in that statement.

    The movie has a prison break, a kidnapping and murders but it's not really about any of their things, it's so much deeper than that. The heart of the movie is the relationship between Butch and Phillip. Butch isn't a nice guy, we see plenty of examples of this, but he is kind to the boy, and Phillip isn't a cute movie kid, and with his natural performance and expressive face, he does not come off as a child actor either (which is the highest compliment I can give)

    This isn't just KC's best performance, it's probably my personal favourite KC performance too. It's amazing and combines everything that he is so good at. Butch is charming and sincere but also short tempered, (especially if he sees children being mistreated) unpredictable and very dangerous. Most of KC's scenes are with Lowther and the two have such great chemistry together that you really do feel the bond developing between them.

    Clint takes an unexpected back seat in this one, and that's fine. Also fine is Laura Dern (who I've always being strangely attracted to) playing a criminologist who isn't just along for the ride.

    While the movie could have easily been a bog standard chase movie, but it's patient pacing and its themes (father and son bonds) elevate it to greatness. Much like Unforgiven the movie is a warning about violence. Especially violence towards children. As a crime drama, it is effective and tense, but as a story of fathers and sons, it becomes something more poignant. It's a a deeply satisfying slow-burner that only improves with age.

    Worthy of note is the score by Lennie Niehaus (who Eastwood used often) and a track called Big Frans Baby, the location work and Eastwood's use of colours.

    Criminally over looked at the time of its release. A Perfect World ended the year 54th highest grossing movie of 1993, with a domestic gross of $31 million, to put that into context, Cop And A Half grossed more!! America should hang it's head in shame.

    Everyone who has seen it, should revisit this gem. If you haven't seen it, I strongly recommend you do so. 10/10 for this reviewer.
  • Being a sucker for any decent road movie, i was always predestined to enjoy this one. The surprising thing is that it's taken all of nineteen years to get round to it. I've always found Kevin Costner to be a likable screen presence and it's here, at the height of his stardom, with top billing that he's on great form. Costner plays Robert 'Butch' Haynes, an escaped convict who due to a botched robbery ends up kidnapping 'Buzz' , a young boy (T.J Lowther) with whom he forms an unlikely mutual bond. Although there's an inherent darkness to proceedings, there's also much sweetness. They form the kind of father and son friendship that as the film unfolds, we realise Haynes never had making it easier to feel sympathetic toward him amid the crime spree. Later in the film, that same sympathy is tested as it's revealed how emotionally damaged Haynes is. To the boy, the whole thing is an exciting adventure as it's highlighted early on that his religious background has kept him somewhat excluded. Haynes on the other hand seems to treat the escapade as therapy for the upbringing he never had. He constantly gives the boy choices and at no point does it feel like a dangerous hostage situation. As with all the better Clint Eastwood directed films, it's stylistically unfussy with emphasis on building a strong relationship between audience and character. Eastwood himself is a great presence in the film, playing a law man trying to keep a steady head, and shares some excellent screen time with Laura Dern. The screenplay also deserves a nod as it serves up some fun interplay dialogue and observations. Some very minor flaws push the limits of credibility, one in particular involving Buzz behind the wheel of a car and some expert last minute breaking, but they give way to what is a heartfelt and touching experience.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A Perfect World is a film directed by Clint Eastwood that stars Kevin Costner as Butch Haynes,an escaped convict who befriends a young boy,and ends up embarking on a road trip with the child. Clint Eastwood co-stars as Red Garnett,a Texas Ranger in pursuit of the convict together with Laura Dern and T.J. Lowther.

    A Perfect World is a character study, appearing in the guise of a cops- and-robbers action picture. The movie takes place during the fall of 1963. Eight-year old Phillip Perry, the son of a devout Jehovah's Witness mother, is staying home while all the other children are out trick-or-treating. But then prison escapee Butch Haynes appears in his kitchen. Needing a hostage to aid him in his escape from jail,he grabs Phillip. Phillip curiously looks up to Butch and willingly accompanies him. Butch gets rid of his fellow escapee after he tries to molest the child, and Butch and Phillip take to the Texas highway, on the run from the cops.

    The cop in pursuit in this instance is Police Chief Red Garnett,riding in his sleek Populux Airglide trailer that happens to be his mobile command headquarters. On the road with Garnett is Sally Gerber, a pushy feminist criminologist, along with a creepy federal agent who is an expert sharpshooter. Butch is not particularly anxious to make it to the Texas borderline, and neither is Garnett in any particular hurry to catch Butch. As Butch and Phillip form a father-son attachment, the paths of Butch and Garnett gradually come together, in time for a final dramatic and emotional confrontation.

    The conclusion of the film is very dramatic that it brought tears into my eyes.It only reminds every viewer that there is goodness in every human being. Aside from the ending,the story itself was full of accurate depiction of what hostages go through and the emotional depth that are given to each characters of the story.The story was also absorbing and fascinating that never felt contrived and artificial whatsoever. It was definitely one of the best performances of Costner and one of the best films directed by Eastwood.A perfect collaboration indeed.In summary,A Perfect World deserves a perfect 10/10 rating!!!
  • Very few directors have the talent Clint Eastwood has for making intense movies with greater depth. In this movie, Clint is no exception and he stars multiple characters in this movie, while repeatedly crossing the lines between good and bad.

    In various parts of the movie, Butch (Kevin Costner) is depicted as the adoptive father and role model of the kid he has kidnapped, and they bond like a family, and he becomes like the father the kid never had and allows the kid to do all the stuff his controlling mother would not let him do. The butch character sells the movie and having Clint Eastwood on the manhunt gives us a great feature.

    On the other hand, we are led into the facts that some of the police and feds who are pursuing this man are in fact closer to thugs than the person they are pursuing. Clint Eastwood makes no distinctions of good and evil and continuously develops the characters throughout the movie in order to give a more emotionally invoking movie.
  • Excellent movies have everything right with them - from the scenery to the director. This movie has it all except the plot is too idealistic for my taste. Granted a story can have any plot the author decides, but this one plays on false stereotypes just like other Hollywood movies, e.g. the "noble" savage. (There is no such thing - individuals may be noble, but not an entire nation. This is why "To Kill a Mocking Bird" is so powerful - the main noble character is surrounded by real people - at least as real as a movie will allow them to be.) And so it doesn't go with "A Perfect World." The main character is surrounded by louts brutes and ignoramuses.

    However, was the movie entertaining? Was it well directed, cast, acted, and lit? You bet. One of Mr. Eastwood's best. 10/10.

    -Zafoid
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With the relatively recent string of directorial hits from Clint Eastwood, it's easy to forget about this rough cut gem from 1993 in which Eastwood also has a supporting role. "A Perfect World" takes one through an entire range of human emotion while focusing on a hostage situation in progress. Kevin Costner plays against type as a small time hood who kidnaps an eight year old boy with his partner, and then dispatches the partner when it appears he may have tried to abuse the youngster. Reaching back into his own troubled past, Butch Haynes (Costner), over the course of the picture, attempts to provide his ward Phillip (T.J. Lowther) with the type of surrogate fatherhood that both have lacked in their respective lives.

    What makes the story so compelling is the way Butch takes Phillip under his wing as the story progresses. At all times, Butch is a straight shooter, he tells Phillip the truth about the boy's father never coming back and how his mother's lying about it. At an age where he instinctively knows this to be true, Phillip comes to respect and trust the man who in every other respect is a frightening criminal. The telling moment is when Butch takes the boy 'trick or treating', and Phillip makes repeated attempts to hold his hand until Butch relents. That single moment captured the essence of a relationship that was about to turn horribly bad.

    This is one picture for certain that doesn't fall into convention, where you can see the end coming from a mile away. In the split second during the scene when Butch terrorizes the black family, you don't have enough time to reflect on whether Phillip will actually pull the trigger or not, and then BAM! - it's an entirely different story. As with many pictures though, the dramatic ending leaves a lot more questions than answers. For example, what about the trauma Phillip is likely to suffer for his role in helping to capture and kill Butch? Whisking him away in an emergency helicopter doesn't resolve that whole issue, much as we like to see our pictures tied up into a nice neat bundle.

    Anyway, this is a compelling story that isn't afraid to bring it's viewers 'outside the box' of traditional movie fare. It forces one to think about the nature of good and evil, and how they can exist in the same person. It's a movie that you won't easily forget the day after you saw it as is the case with so many pictures relying on shoot 'em up action and a clear cut victory for the good guys.
  • "A Perfect World", a seldom-mentioned entry in Clint Eastwood's credits is a riveting character study that sees Kevin Costner as an escaped con who takes an 8 year-old boy hostage during his getaway. Giving chase is Eastwood as a grizzled Texas Ranger, and the fetching Laura Dern as his bookworm tagalong. A bond is forged between captive and captor that gives the film its emotional center. Both con and child find something in each other, one a tragic father figure, the other a surrogate sidekick.

    It's a slow burn, with the only action scenes being a speedy getaway and few gunshots. But the relationship between the two feels authentic, the kid's cute, and Costner even tends towards the likable (even with the lurking undercurrent of menace in his hardened criminal).

    It's a buildup - one that's quietly suspenseful - to a climactic scene that brings everyone involved to a date with fate, itself. And it's a movie that sticks with you, long after the credits roll.

    8/10
  • Writing this comment,I still have not got over the film yet. An excellent piece of acting from Costner and the kid,and the rest of the kudos to Clint Eastwood. Though Clint's on-screen presence is not that much,wherever he is,he's great.And Laura did her part too,though it wasn't much.Best of all the innocence of the boy buzz and Butch's way of relating his life with the boy is the strongest part of the movie.I felt a bit teary with the ending,though I expected it,maybe Costner did it so good.

    Just go ahead and watch it,that will do a lot more good.This can be Clint's sweetest movie-ever.

    JUST watch it.
  • ahmetgungoren23 January 2005
    This is my one of the favorite and unforgettable films.The story,the pictures,emotion are very impressive.For me,this film is valuable because, it has got a humane message in the name of friendship,crime and innocence.

    Mastery of Eastwood's telling story appears with images,dialogs and music.The casting is very good and natural.Kevin Costner and little supporter actor fit their roles.

    Maybe,some people can think for this film that is over-emotional and artificial.But I do not agree with those opinions.Anyway,every Clint Eastwood movie has got a special and sophisticated language if you can get the message and you can deeply comprehend.

    Finally,I recommend it to everybody and I like to increase its vote level.Because it deserves to be mentioned with the greatest movies.
  • Clint Eastwood did a magnificent job on this motion picture. Not only does it contain great choreography, but a magnificent cast, and a magnificent director. This is number 3 on my all time favorites list, following Giant, and Gettysburg. Though this film may not be your taste, it captures your attention, and it makes the storyline believable. To some this may seem like trash, but to me this is a wonderfully made movie, which I recommend to anybody who wants to see a masterpiece.
  • tomt7121 July 2002
    10/10
    N.J.
    How this film only rates a 6.9 with imdb users is beyond me. It's by-far the best thing Eastwood, Costner or Dern have EVER done. If you've never seen it, go rent it right now. It's one of the best films ever made and the little kid is outstanding. Costner always gets a lot of flack for his acting (some of it justified) but anyone who thinks he can't act has never seen this film.

    I've seen it 10 times at least but my eyes are still glued to the screen every time it comes on again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was surprised when this was released in 1993 that it was not a box office hit.

    It was the beginning of Costner's box office slide after several years of mostly hit films.

    I think it is a very good film.

    Clint, not anything new he was doing here, but he did his usual good job with the role.

    Costner, not the best actor in the world, but he did a good job with his role. And, it was not a normal role for him.

    Dern, 1993 being her only hit movie year after the great "Jurassic Park", although her role was small, she did the best of it & at least it was written where a woman could be smart & tough in a law enforcement type position.

    I liked the relationship that developed between Butch and Phillip. Which was the point of the film.

    Costner & the little boy worked well together.

    It was nice to see the little boy have some sort of life & do SOMETHING because at home, well, he had none. Parents broken up with a mother not allowing him to do anything fun because of a religious belief.

    Good directing job by Clint.
  • Andreas_N30 June 2003
    Warning: Spoilers
    (many spoilers!!!!)

    I just saw this movie today, and was impressed. I know I should've seen it earlier, but I missed it every time it was on TV. "A Perfect World", with Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood tells the story of the fugitive convict Butch Haynes, who escapes with his partner Terry Pugh from the Huntsville prison in 1963. On their flight, they kidnap the young 8-year-old-boy Phillip Perry, and continue their race across Texas. As Pugh tries to abuse Phillip, Butch kills him. While Texas Ranger Chief Red Garnett (Eastwood) hunts them, the two discover similar bonds, and Butch really comes to like young Phillip. The boy himself overcomes his suspicion and accepts Butch as a kind of "older brother", or even stronger, as the compensation for his father, whom he never knew. As the hunt continues, Butch tells Phillip about his life, and his wish to find his own father on Alaska, where he would like to live in peace and dignity. They make certain stops, steal three different cars, and survive confrontations with the local cops. The movie deals not only with this flight of a criminal, but also strongly with the issues of fathers and sons. That's what put this movie for me above the usual road movie. It goes deep, deals with exhaustion, love, hopelessness, and pure human emotions. The climax of the movie is unexpected. Butch and Phillip stay on a farm, when the situation gets out of control. The farmer beats his young son, and Butch attacks him, even threatens to kill him. That's what causes Phillip to raise the gun against Butch, and even shoots him in the stomach.

    Garnett reaches the place. Butch stumbles out of the farm and follows Phillip, who sought for refuge on a big tree. Police forces surround them, snipers get into positions. But Phillip is not willing to leave Butch, though he would have let him go to his mom, who also arrived at the scenery. He runs back to the wounded Butch and hugs him. There you can see the love and sympathy the boy feels for the "criminal". I was caught in high attention, unable to move. How would the movie end? Criminologist Sally Gerber is with Garnett, and both of them know, really know Butch, Garnett even knows him from his childhood in Amarillo on. They try to solve the situation peacefully. But when Phillip and Butch move towards Garnett, hand in hand, Butch stumbles again, and tries to give the photograph of Alaska, which his father sent him, to Phillip. The sniper, an arrogant FBI agent, supposes Butch would draw a gun and fires a shot into the chest of the man. He dies, Phillip kneeing on his side, taking the photo and eventually, his mom draws him away from Butch. Garnett is angry. He wanted to save the guy, for he knew the good heart of Haynes. The dramatic ending is impressive. Eastwood made a perfect job both as actor and director, and T.J. Lowther's performance as young Phillip is simply great and convincing. One of Costner's best as well, a road movie with funny dialogues, a thrilling background story, moving emotions, brilliant acting performances, some brutal and unexpected scenes, a great setting in Texas around 1963, and an indeed amazing climax at the end, which makes the movie a dramatic masterpiece.

    Feel free to respond and to share your thoughts, you can write me if you want.

    Best greetings to all imdb.com users from Austria!
  • Costner and Eastwood confront each other in A Perfect World with a very ordinarily written cat and rat movie. We've seen the same plot many times before and after 1993. Eastwood plays the cat, and Costner does the rat. However, Eastwood directs it at a high emotional level; giving its viewers much inspiration of love and joy, offering a great deal of fun and humour, especially pointing the importance of family. To the effect that, the title should have been "A PERFECT FAMILY" or "A PERFECT FATHER". I'm sure though, Eastwood must have considered these options of titling the movie. If he chose to go with "A PERFECT WORLD"; for me, it means that even a shifty criminal man can raise a child better than a moralist bona fide housekeeper can, at some point.

    The story takes place in 1960s' Texas. Butch(Costner) is an escaped convict out of a perforce criminal. After he and his partner escape from prison, they begin to outlaw the law. As a celebration of their freedom, they supersede their own law of crime. They first planned to escape to Mexico, but the plans changed when they kidnapped a 8 year old boy. Butch's partner doesn't like the boy as he likes. So they break with each other, and Butch stays with the boy. When the Texas police are alerted of the kidnapping, police chief Garnett(Eastwood) and his officers start to chase Butch to rescue the boy. Whereas, the boy finds Butch close to him both as a hero in his dreams and as a father in his heart. The time when Butch takes the boy to buy him new clothes, which he chose to wear Casper costume, Butch names the kid Buzz. Butch wants him to be happy for he has never had the chance to be before; and Buzz turns out to be cheery as he found a daemon turning his wishes into reality. Together they formed a legendary couple like Bonnie&Clyde, like Thelma&Louise and the same bottom line was awaiting for them as Bonnie&Clyde, as Thelma&Louise.

    A Perfect World is truly an Eastwood classic. His style of script, his style of action, his style of simplicity and the love of the guns for sure loom large. Fundamentally like every Eastwood movie out of A Perfect World we obtain an opinion. So we never regret seeing A Perfect World for one time. This would be a good choice to watch with your whole family together.
An error has occured. Please try again.