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'Premonition' Senses Mediocrity
Sandra Bullock can't make this thriller click
Brian Orndorf (briano)     Print Article 
Published 2007-03-16 11:05 (KST)   
What kind of a film is "Premonition"? Well, it's a thriller, a love story, a faith-based healing picture, and a horror film; it also should come as no surprise that the end product is a viper's nest of confusion and wacky tonal changes that ultimately lead nowhere.

Linda (Sandra Bullock) is a loving mother of two who can't seem to understand her husband Jim's (Julian McMahon, "Nip/Tuck") martial distance. When Jim dies in a car accident, Linda is lost in grief, but finds the events around the accident strange and unfamiliar. Waking up the next morning, she finds Jim alive, much to her confusion. Over the course of a week, Linda flashes back and forth between realities, leaving her frantic to crack this psychological code so she can save her husband.

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I know there's an audience hungry for deliberate multi-dimensional, mind-bending cinema, but these scripts are reaching absurdist heights. To stay one step ahead of the audience, movies like "Premonition" are dreaming up rather uninspiring ways to toy with reality, and even more lifeless ways to aim the production toward a twist ending.

That said, I wasn't bothered too much by "Premonition." It's an elongated "Twilight Zone" episode that settles in nicely with a convincing mood of confusion, if not an engrossing one. Screenwriter Bill Kelly has some wild ideas for this mental time bomb, but he has problems organizing the thrills and the chills in the correct order for maximum unease. Too much of the script is Linda playing catch-up with her new realities instead of deciphering them, and it does little to power the film past its putter.

©2007 Sony Pictures

The great benefit of having Sandra Bullock in the lead role is that she understands what "Premonition" is asking of her, and she portrays Linda accordingly. Unexpectedly, I found Bullock to be rather interesting as the eye of this lithium-n-hugs hurricane, depicting bewilderment well (this is almost "The Lake House: Part Deux"). She bungles scenes of Linda's outright hysteria, but played in constant close-up by director Mennan Yapo, Bullock works the tight focus carefully, making Linda a compelling force of inquiry and doubt.

"Premonition" reminds me of the type of film that makes you wait patiently for the pivotal moment when the movie loses its mind, spurting blood and madness everywhere; however, Yapo and Kelly aren't making that kind of picture. Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the cell here, not something more thematically apocalyptic, and this defanged approach doesn't suit the finale of the picture at all. If it's even possible, it turns "Premonition" from a confusing film to a baffling one, leaving the wispy payoff not worth the hard fight to get there.

©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Brian Orndorf

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