Director: Mennan Yapo
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Julian McMahon
TriStar Pictures, 2007
According to Webster’s Dictionary, a premonition is “previous notice or advance warning”. If only Sandra Bullock had received such notice before signing on to star in this Jenga-like movie that crumples under its own internal logic.
Better yet, if only I’d lived Saturday before Friday, obtained advance warning this movie sucked, then awakened Friday morning with the premonition to save my money.
America’s Miss Congeniality stars in this thriller about a housewife named Linda Hanson, living a week “out of order”, realizing that her husband will die midweek if she doesn’t sort out the timeline or take steps to alter the course of events as she bounces around the week on either side of the horrific day. Moreover, the odd behavior in light of her chronological displacement seems destined to get her children taken away from her and land her in the psychiatric ward. The film is fairly well-acted; I have nothing against Sandra Bullock, and like actor Julian McMahon. The cinematography is engaging and the film is well paced. However, I can only imagine that somewhere between first draft of Bill Kelly’s screenplay and Mennan Yapo’s finished, edited film the story got mangled.
The premise is intriguing, and the overarching themes of providence and destiny drew me in. At first, it’s terrifying for Linda (Bullock) that her life, and time, are out of joint, she begins to understand she has the chance – and the urgency – to do much more than simply save her husband’s life: she’s actually been given the opportunity to save a stagnant marriage… a family that seems okay on the surface but has fractures beneath the veneer.
Fidelity, family, perseverance, and an efficacious love that involves choice and work are upheld not only as a part of marriage, but one of the few things in life truly worth fighting for. Many elements for a good film with good speaking points were present… but the film quickly shows its cards and reveals it has cheated to set the mood… timeline continuity is ruined for the sake of a red herring part of the plot, meant to throw the viewer off track.
To make matters worse, there is a scene involving a casket that just seems forced for a cheap thrill and an obvious need to move the plot forward; it’s a schlocky jolt from reality that makes a film striving to be dark and contemplative suddenly feel like Final Destination 3.
As Linda seeks out a priest for answers, he whips out a book on unexplained phenomena (as though he keeps Egon Spengler’s book Toben’s Spirit Guide around for just this type of issue) and offers great quotes from scripture like “nature abhors a vacuum” (reference: Second book of Cliches chapter 3, verse 4 – meaning it’s not in the Bible). His “words of wisdom” offer more confusion, not help, and not once does he actually mention God but simply warns her that the premonitions can occur when someone has “lost faith”. The only thing remotely worthwhile from the man of the cloth is that he’s the one who makes Linda question what in her life – if anything – is worth fighting for. Sadly, as the movie comes to a close, the plot questions left dangling feel awkward, unintentional, and not worth fighting to figure out.
Hmm. “Nature abhors a vacuum” is an idea that came from the ancient Greeks… and Spartans like Leonidas apparently already knew his family was worth fighting for when he took the 300 to fight the Persians. Thus, it didn’t take a “premonition” to know that 300 would dismember Bullock’s film, and everything else opening that same Friday, as that titan held the cinematic line for it’s second weekend.