2007-09-04 17:26
What it’s about:

When Linda (Sandra Bullock) is told that her husband Jim (Julian McMahon) has been killed in a car crash, she is both devastated and confused. What will she tell their girls? Why had Jim been on that road in the first place? She finally cries herself to sleep, only to wake up next to a very alive Jim. Was it all a nightmare, or an awful glimpse of the future?

What we thought of it:

There’s a point in Premonition where Sandra Bullock wakes up for what feels like the fortieth time and finally asks “What day is it?” Considering she’s spent the last hour or so of the movie skipping backwards and forwards between days, you’d think the question might just have occurred to her before. But then that’s Premonition for you – all mood and intrigue and not very much common sense.

Still, it starts out well enough. Director Mennan Yapo has a knack for capturing the disorientation that Bullock’s character is feeling, contrasting the days when her husband is alive (warm and light) with those when he’s dead (gloomy and remote). But the inherent limitations of the screenplay eventually overtake his skill, and the movie goes from intriguing to frustrating to downright exasperating.

Most of this annoyance comes from the characters’ complete lack of imagination. Linda figures out she is skipping backwards and forwards in time about halfway through the film, but does she try to change what she does on Tuesday to see what effect it will have on Wednesday (when she finally gets there)? Oh no, that would mess up the story after all, and we can’t have that.

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.

Kelly 2007/06/21 9:34 AM
Crystal Ball - i liked it I really like this was about what she should fight for and in the end she realises that her family is what she should fight for that she cannot change some parts of the future but she can make sure that other things dont happen. Dont be so cynical........if we live each day to its best and make sure we make the most of it our future can only be beautiful
Uncle 2007/06/21 11:02 AM
Silly little man I haven't seen this film and don't plan to. I am, however, intrigued by the 2 stars. If you hated it so much why grace it with a 2nd star? You repeatedly slate and basically ridicule locally made films. "Ouma se slim kind" got 1 star. This movie cost an absolute GDP to produce compared to local films, so, it's going to look better and have fancy special effects but since when does that make a good movie (just watch "A sound of thunder", "XXX" or "The fast and the furios for proof of this." I am now convinced that your are nothing more than a cynical, vendictive little man with absolute disregard for the passion and commitment involved in creating a movie. Great reviewers (i.e. Roger Ebert) are genuine lovers of film, with an intimate understanding of all they encompass. You could learn a thing or two (or a hundred) from people like them.
Alistair 2007/06/21 11:51 AM
Ok "Uncle", let's take a look at this more closely It's worth two stars because the editing and cinematography are above average, and the acting is pretty convincing. As for me ridiculing local films, why then did I give Bunny Chow four stars? I think you're just angry about Ouma Se Slim Kind, and that has nothing to do with this review. And as for the other reviewers out there, let's see what they said about this film: "The sloppy, absent-minded Premonition is a step back in time and a giant leap backward for Sandra Bullock." Stephen Holden, New York Times. "I just returned from the immediate future, like two minutes from now, and I have a strong feeling I’m about to give this movie a big thumbs down." Richard Roeper - Ebert & Roeper "I have a premonition you won't give a damn. I sure as hell didn't." Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Me 2007/06/21 11:57 AM
What was the point of the premonition I personally thought the moving was a bit silly. Fine Julian is hot and Sandra is one of my fav actress but I didn't understand what the premonition was about. He died anyway. Maybe it was for her to find out he was having an affair......
Karen 2007/06/21 3:08 PM
Premonition Well thanks "Me", for not only reviewing the film but giving the ending and other detail up for scrutiny. Could have surmised that myself from the original review, but now it's been confirmed there's not much point in seeing it is there!!!
Uncle 2007/06/21 4:16 PM
My point exactly Thank you Alistair for proving my point that you are a sad little man. This is just a continuation of the usual buddy buddy film arts system in SA. And as for you "calling me out" that is excpetionally immature and once again brings to light to your extreme penis envy.
Uncle 2007/06/21 4:40 PM
Irony The critic is upset by criticism...How ironic.
Uncle 2007/06/21 4:43 PM
Blah... Blah blah blah...more childish mudslinging and silly time wasting...blah blah blah some more and again and so on and so forth etc etc etc. Blah blah blah.
Uncle 2007/06/21 4:44 PM
1 more thing I am sorry about the penis comment...I'm sure you have a very lovely member.
Zoue 2007/06/21 5:20 PM
What 5 childish behaviour Dear Uncle what childish, mundane, insecure comments you seem to through at Alistair while all the while it seems that you are the envious one ( presume yourself to be a critic yourself) Critics are there because some of them actually do have good points to highlight and they seem to generally be a bit more objective in the point of view than for example some close mindedd idiot like you. Stop this mudslinging and childish behavior and let the experts to what they are paid to do. If you do not like the comments they make then don't read it - it merely is only just a guideline Kudo's to you Alistair for at least reviewing in such a forthcoming and objective manner. keep it up!
Uncle 2007/06/21 5:56 PM
You're right... Thanks for showing me the error of my ways Zoue. You're right. I'm wrong. Fairweather is the greatest reviewer to ever grace the film industry. Forgive my for my childish ignorance.
Uncle 2007/06/21 6:01 PM
Take your own advice If you don't like reading my comments then don't read them...
Commenter 2007/06/27 2:11 AM
Bad review, ignore this Wow, how brave, they deleted all my posts. Fact remains this a bad reviewer,please people ignore this persons review. He reads and then regurgitates what he reads from the "credible" reviewers. It borders on plagiarism.
Alistair 2007/06/27 12:37 PM
Ok Commentator, put your money where your mouth is Your comments were deleted because they were childish and amounted to slander. If this were real life I could sue you for defamation - but luckily for brave old you this is the internet where nothing counts, right? I challenge you, or anyone, to find even one line of plagiarism in any of my reviews. The really funny thing is that, on principle, I won't even LOOK at another review until my own is finished. But never mind the truth - it's all about your opinion after all.
simi 2007/07/19 11:00 AM
Premonition wait wait im getting a premonition wait ah here it is, "a box office failure........ "
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