To make matters worse, the plot is punctuated with unpleasant and largely gratuitous shocks. A distraught Linda upends her husband’s coffin, only to have his severed head roll out onto the road. She wakes up for the funeral to find her daughter’s face covered in vicious cuts. And, in the film’s only real flirtation with alternative time paths, she gets herself committed by her deeply creepy psychologist (the always mesmeric Peter Stormare). These shock tactics may add frisson to the plot, but they feel more like cheap tricks than worthwhile additions to the plot.
But it’s the grand finale that really kills Premonition. The filmmakers are clearly shooting for “shocking” and “significant”, even “tragic”, but there’s only one really good word for it: disappointing. After taking such pains to set it up, making us follow Bullock through day after tedious day, it’s hard not to feel cheated by the cop-out sentimentality of the final act.
The movie might have saved some face had it avoided any explanations for the “premonitions”, but no, the screenwriters must tack on a visit to the local priest who (conveniently) has a book about such things. Of course the book doesn’t actually tell us anything useful, and the best we get from the priest is “Maybe God wants us to live every day like our last.” Thanks a lot buddy. That stuff might fly at Hallmark, but we want some answers here.
In the end though, that greeting-card homily sums up the movie perfectly (as does the extremely silly poster) – vague, trite and without any real substance. For all its gloomy good looks and apparent sincerity, Premonition is hollow to the core – a movie built on lame parlour tricks and cheap shocks. Go and see it if you must, but we foresee you will be disappointed.
- Alistair Fairweather
Time travel has never been more mundane and disappointing than it is in Premonition. Plus it's giving Sandra Bullock frown lines - always a no no.
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