When escaped convict Butch Haynes (Kevin Costner) plucks Buzz Perry (T.J. Lowther) from his idyllic life, this sweet, wide-eyed little boy soon becomes attached to his captor. After all, this gruff, hardened criminal has a softer side. He does arm flips with the boy and wants him to celebrate holidays, which, as a Jehovah’s Witness, he is forbidden to do. Like Butch Haynes, A Perfect World is endearing whether it should be or not.
Somehow this oddly still movie is the viewing equivalent of laying in a field of grass on a hot summer day. You can almost feel the heat waves slowing time and thought until good and evil are one and the same. Is Butch Haynes a complete scary-ass with the potential to snuff the life out of a person at the drop of a hat? Yes. Is he also kind of a sweet softie who believes in trick-or-treating? That too! His duplicitous nature and interaction with Buzz are so mesmerizing that we barely care that Texas Ranger Red Garret (Clint Eastwood) and criminologist Sally Gerber (Laura Dern) are hot on his trail. Punctuated by bursts of action and conflict, A Perfect World is as lulling as it is jarring. Something like a nap interrupted by a nightmare, this ethereal film will leave you feeling both rested and unsettled.