Be forewarned: An intriguing premise crashes and burns


on March 16, 2007 by Tim Cogshell
Although it fancies itself a taut psychological thriller, Premonition, even with a running time of well less than two hours, is anything but taut and ultimately isn't much of a thriller either. Instead, German director Mennan Yapo and screenwriter Bill Kelly ( Blast from the Past ) have produced a film that is positively languid and fairly well muddled.

With a loose idea about the ramifications of precognition at its core, the movie quickly slips into a Groundhog Day -like series of loops, which is actually more of a premise about being trapped in time than one about knowing what is going to happen before it does and using that knowledge to change the outcome. These are two distinct ideas, but the filmmakers don't seem to be aware of this and treat the material as if they are the same.

Here, Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) is a married mother of two young girls who awakes one morning to be told that her husband Jim (Julian McMahon of Nip/Tuck ) has been killed in a car accident. Distraught, Linda goes to sleep that evening only to wake up the next morning to find hubby alive and well at the breakfast table. This is all a well and good, if not particularly new or interesting, and does beg the question as to how such a thing could have happened. But the next morning Linda wakes to find that hubby is dead again and today is the funeral — and so on.

She thinks she's losing it, of course, and the question becomes whether she's going crazy in the world where her husband died in a car accident or the one in which he's alive. This too is a rather pedestrian question but still fodder for a good thriller in the right hands.

What Premonition does instead is devolve into a film that only feigns the pretensions of popular entertainment but instead wants to delve into all sorts of family issues (apparently Jim was planning on cheating); the psychology of loss (Peter Stormare plays a needlessly eerie shrink who commits Linda to the nuthouse); and, finally, issues of faith (out of nowhere a priest shows up and we are taken on a religious diatribe worthy of the PAX network). Then the movie is over. Just like that. Just like this review. Yet it feels much longer, and even more pointless. Distributor: Sony
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Julian McMahon, Nia Long, Kate Nelligan, Amber Valletta and Peter Stormare
Director: Mennan Yapo
Screenwriter: Bill Kelly
Producers: Ashok Amritraj, Jon Jashni, Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Sunil Perkash
Genre: Thriller
Rating: PG-13 for some violent content, disturbing images, thematic material and brief language
Running time: 110 min.
Release date: March 16, 2007

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