Review by: Larry Thomas
Movies occasionally get it right when dealing with stories about time tripping.
Two films at the top of that short list are Groundhog Day with Bill Murray,
and George Roy Hill's film version of Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse
Five. Movies can also be successful with complicated stories told out of sequence.
Sometimes the result can be cinematic masterpieces, such as Quentin Tarantino's
groundbreaking Pulp Fiction and Sergio Leone's final epic film
Once Upon a Time in America.
Premonition, the latest Sandra Bullock epic, tries to do both, and
fails miserably in the execution.
One afternoon, a sheriff shows up at Bullock's door to tell her that
her husband has been killed in a car crash. The next morning when she wakes
up he's there, and it's another day out of sequence. As this continues
to happen on a daily basis, Bullock becomes more frustrated, so she starts making
a chart to piece these events together. Good idea, Sandy, because the script
isn't any help. And neither is the pedestrian direction by Mennan Yapo,
which has the supposed twists and turns moving at a snail's pace.
Bullock must be just as fascinated with time travel as are the current spate
of romance novelists. Her last film, The Lake House, had a similar
plot, but despite similar flaws, was definitely more engaging. The director
of The Lake House was even able to coax a decent performance out of
Keanu Reeves, who was Bullock's co-star in the big action hit Speed.
In Premonition, Bullock's husband is played by TV star Julian
McMahon, currently a hot favorite on the Fox series Nip/Tuck, and a
veteran of the 1990's guilty pleasure series Profiler. He's
given a walk-through role, which is precisely what he does with it... not
that he has any other choice. The supporting cast also wastes two excellent
character performers. Peter Stormare, whom you may remember as the kidnapper
who puts his buddy in the wood chipper in Fargo, plays a psychiatrist,
and the capable Kate Nelligan is relegated to a few hand-wringing scenes as
Bullock and McMahon have two little girls, portrayed as perfect, obedient children
who never talk back or are loud and obnoxious. Even though that portrayal might
be considered unrealistic, the two young actors are very good in their roles,
and may be the best thing about the film.
Most people either like Sandra Bullock, or can't stand her. Sometimes
she can be fine, as in the aforementioned Speed, or even the fluffy
Miss Congeniality. In Premonition, her performance consists
of glum, frustrated, annoyed, and puzzled.
The derivative score by Klaus Badelt channels every heart-tugging or suspense-forewarning
movie score cliché, but manages to be totally forgettable, if not intrusive.
In deciphering the events that transpire in Premonition, the audience
will no doubt ask about Sandra Bullock's character... is she time-tripping;
is she hallucinating; is she dreaming; or... is she just nuttier than the
proverbial fruitcake. As this tale creaks toward its mawkish and unsatisfying
ending, the obvious answer is... who cares?