The simple premise for the new thriller Premonition translates to the screen as a mixed timeline full of constant suspense (if you invest in the concept). This notion is vital to the appreciation of any movie. If you allow yourself to care about key elements, then they’re going to affect you.
Overall, the film has a good basic story supported by a strong star going after more challenging acting roles. Sandra Bullock stars as Linda Hanson, a loving housewife with a busy husband and two daughters, played by Shyann McClure and Courtney Taylor Burness. Her worst fears come true as her stable life seems to unravel, creating an unpredictable and somewhat manipulative plot.
The viewer is always concerned about what’s happening while questioning Linda’s actions and motives – an interesting element in the movie used sparingly. Linda’s somber mood gets a jolt when she realizes her fantastical situation. Bullock holds her own as an actor, but audiences might waver from the subdued mood and possibly confusing plot (just pay attention to what she’s wearing each day and on the days she’s most volatile). The elements, mostly focusing on character dialogue, do come together well, but the medium payoff may not be enough.
The plot, which streams like an involving, timeline-jumping book, can only sustain an audience if they are invested in Linda’s dilemma, which Bullock largely succeeds in pulling off. Her husband Jim, played by Julian McMahon (Fantastic Four, Nip/Tuck), becomes the subject of this all-important premonition. You feel a wide range of emotions from shock (or annoyance) to disbelief as Linda ponders her actions as she discovers Jim’s unique situation.
The supporting cast has very basic roles that challenge the plot and/or misdirect the audience regarding character motives. Amber Valletta has an important but small role as Claire, Jim’s co-worker; same for the talented Peter Stormare (Fargo, Minority Report) as Dr. Norman Roth. Kate Nelligan (Prince of Tides) plays Linda’s mother Joanne and Nia Long (Are We There Yet?, Boyz in the Hood) plays Linda’s best friend Annie.
The story, written by Bill Kelly, who wrote Blast from the Past, another time bending pic, presents one wild week of drama, tragedy, melancholy, and tension topped off with an original ending. This thriller represents a solid English language start for Turkish-German director Mennan Yapo (Lautlos). The movie looks good, thanks to cinematographer Torsten Lippstock, but the music score doesn’t really factor in much.
The movie needed a stronger music score instead of enhanced environmental sound (e.g. feet creaking on the house floor), which doesn’t enhance the film much or directly relate to a plot twist or key points. Filmed in Louisiana, this movie prompts you to pay attention to the set design and costumes, especially Linda’s wardrobe. Credible suspense, but expectations and an overcrowded genre will likely produce tepid tallies at the box office (see Jim Carrey’s Number 23).
An emotional experience recommended with reservations (** out of four stars) and rated PG-13 for some brief language, violent content, disturbing images, and thematic material. Not to be confused with the 2004 Japanese film of the same name and similar concept.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler