Genre: Mystery and Thriller Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.
Release Date: March 16th, 2007 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Mennan Yapo Actors: Sandra Bullock, Julian McMahon, Shyann McClure, Courtney Taylor Burness, Nia Long, Amber Valletta, Peter Stormare
he latest in a string of Sandra Bullock mystery thrillers, “Premonition” is a jumbled mess of unexplained time travel and its consequent inconsistencies. It may not be wholly lacking in entertainment value, but it does raise more questions than it answers – questions like “Why is this happening to her again?” and “Why can’t she change things?” It might also have audiences questioning why they chose to put themselves through another Sandra Bullock mystery thriller.
Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) appears to have the ideal family life – a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a brand new house. But one day, after receiving a bizarre phone call from her husband Jim (Julian McMahon), she is informed by the authorities that he has died in a car accident. Distraught and in disbelief, Linda attempts to carry out the rest of her day normally, but eventually cries herself to sleep that night. She awakens the next morning to discover Jim is alive and well; it was all just a bad dream. Or was it? Each day she rises to a new nightmare of instability, reverting back and forth in time, creating an unreliable madness that must be solved to uncover the terrifying events that led up to her husband’s tragic demise.
The movie begins refreshingly enough, with an adequate dose of confusion and disorientation as viewers learn of Linda’s plight. But soon it becomes apparent that the plot is in over its head. More disturbing than the events surrounding the protagonist is the inexplicable direction the film saunters toward. After each non-sequential day passes, more plot holes are created – so many, in fact, that the audience will realize that there isn’t sufficient time left in the two-hour flick to resolve them all.
“Premonition” attempts to be ominous, succeeding at times but falling victim to several cheap scares at others. When the police officer who informs Linda of her husband’s death appears on a different day, one might think a conspiracy is in the works – but no, it’s just another random occurrence thrown in to add more disorder to an already convoluted premise. Whenever time travel is introduced in a story, so are bafflements about the nature of altering the past, present, and future; but “Premonition” hopes that the audience will simply accept its fixed rules without pondering their plausibility. Before there can be a “who,” “what,” or “where,” there needs to be a “why.” But answers here are utterly elusive. The film ends prematurely, without divulging any reason for its supernaturalism, pushing a perception of inevitability that is decidedly more frustrating than satisfying.
Though Bullock admirably tries to hold director Mennan Yapo’s tense, psychological drama together, it suspends disbelief far beyond a reasonable limit. In its design to keep viewers guessing until the very end, it maintains that guesswork well beyond the end credits. The film traverses about seven days of one exasperating week for Linda, but only about three of them make any sense. It may not anticipate anyone delving too deep into the loose ends and storyline gaps, but the insistence that some things simply can’t be explained rarely works in cinema. And it certainly doesn’t work here.
– Joel Massie