Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) wakes up one morning and realizes her husband has taken the kids to school. She does some shores, takes a run, puts some stickers on the plate glass patio door and starts a shopping list. There is a knock at the door and a Sheriff has arrived to tell her that her husband, Jim (Julian McMahon, TV's "Nip/ Tuck", "Fantastic Four"), died in a car accident on a nearby highway yesterday. He was on his way to a business meeting, he left a message on the home phone, he can't be dead. That afternoon, Linda picks up her two daughters and they instantly realize something is wrong. The next morning, she wakes up to find her husband, Jim sitting at the kitchen counter drinking coffee. But it is Tuesday, not Friday. The next morning, she wakes up and Jim is dead again, and her mom (Kate Nelligan) pressures her to make the funeral arrangements. What is going on? As Linda deals with these odd circumstances, each time she wakes up, it is a different day in the same week. One day, she meets a new psychiatrist (Peter Stormare), another, her daughter runs into the plate glass window and receives some cuts. Her husband is dead, and then he isn't. Will she go mad? Will she be able to figure out what is going on? Can she prevent her husband's death?
"Premonition", the newest film starring Sandra Bullock, is one of her 'serious' films, in which she rarely, if ever, smiles, or seems to be enjoying life. In "Premonition", the death of her husband and then his reappearance lead her to try to figure out what the heck is going on. If we were in the same situation, we would probably feel the same way and attempt to do the same thing. As she tries to put the pieces together, she learns more and more about herself and her husband, causing some conflicting feelings. But why is it that Bullock always seems so unhappy in these films? Yes, I understand her husband has died, but even before this happens, she smiles once.
"Premonition" isn't really a time travel story, despite Linda's waking up on a different day of the week every day, and able to look back and forward into the future. That really isn't the point. When she realizes what is happening, she tries to change the events, to save her husband. But time travel isn't part of the equation, because she has no control over that aspect of the mystery. When she wakes up, it simply IS Tuesday or Wednesday. She then has to take stock of what has already happened and what will happen and try to figure out the key is to the whole mess. What event can she change to make everything ALL RIGHT?
Whether you like Sandra Bullock or not, and I am not a huge fan, she has an undeniable screen charisma making her at least watch able in anything she does. But Bullock is more enjoyable when she is in a good comedy, when she can make us laugh. Or in a good romantic comedy, where we can watch her fall in love in a cute way. And she has had her greatest successes in these two genres. Yet, in Hollywood, comedy is not considered a test of an actor's skill and to earn respectability, many funny comedians attempt drama or suspense, in an effort to win respectability. This is such a ludicrous concept, I can't even defend it. Comedies regularly headline the Box Office Top 10 and while this doesn't mean the film is any good, it is a lot harder to make people laugh. So, I don't understand why people like Sandra Bullock, Jim Carrey ("The Number 23"), Adam Sandler ("Reign Over Me") and others frequently delve into dramas, thrillers, etc., films they are just not as good at, and shy away from the films that made them a star. Concentrate on finding that next great comedy or romance, Sandra. That will be the true test of your ability, finding that next film. If you can't find one, take a break. You made $20 million for "Miss Congeniality 2". I don't think you are going to go hungry in the next year.
That said, "Premonition" isn't a bad film it is just mediocre. It certainly is worth a bargain matinee. If you have the time. But I wouldn't rush out and plunk down $11 to see it. Why? There simply is nothing about it that is strong enough to warrant such action. The acting is good, but because everyone is so dour and unhappy, it is a bit bland. The only time we see a difference is in a flashback to Linda and Jim's wedding; they are both smiling. Throughout the rest of the film, they simply look at each other. The story is interesting, but it never quite posits a theory as to why this is happening to Linda. Is she meant to find out secrets about her husband? Is she meant to learn the meaning of a happy marriage? Is she meant to become a better mother? Does Jim die for a reason? It is never explained. We simply watch the events happen. Since we aren't participating in the story, it becomes more of a trial to sit through.
There are some attempts to make Linda a well-rounded character. She has a friend, Annie (Nia Long), who she calls and visits and seeks advice from. They have, apparently been friends for a while, but we don't know what their connection is. Why is Annie a necessary character to this story? Bullock pretty much walks through the story, staring glumly into the distance throughout.
Julian McMahon plays Jim, Linda's wife. He is okay, but he mainly reacts to Bullock's character and because she is less than interesting, he is reacting to this persona, and his character has little to add.
Kate Nelligan pops up as Linda's concerned mother and Peter Stormare plays a psychiatrist Linda seeks out for help.
Directed by Mennan Yapo, a German director who also appeared in the film "Goodbye, Lenin", "Premonition" spends some time setting up a few plot points before Linda learns of Jim's death. Then, as she wakes up on the rest of the days of the week, in random order, we see how some of these events happened. For instance, Linda listens to a recording machine message from Jim. Then she puts decals on the plate glass patio door. She talks to Annie. She starts a shopping list. The problem is that only some of these events actually have a place in the story, become a piece of the puzzle. For a film like this to work, everything, EVERYTHING, has to fit, to mean something in the final moments. After she learns of Jim's death and wakes up the next morning and realizes Jim hasn't died yet, Linda tries to piece the puzzle together and Bullock starts to rush around with a grim determination. Again, some of her actions make sense, some don't. EVERYTHING has to tie in together and it doesn't, making this film more than a little mediocre.
The conclusion is a bit of a letdown, but to describe it in any detail would reveal too much, so I can't do that. Suffice it to say, it is simply blah.
Early in the film, we watch another flashback where Jim surprises Linda with the house they will live in through the rest of the film. It is an interesting, unique house, but the rest of the film is almost monochromatic; the film looks grainy and doesn't have a lot of color. I am not sure if this is meant to be significant, maybe the film is set in winter, which would lend itself well to the gray look of the film. But if this is the case, it isn't necessary and doesn't play a pivotal part in the story.
"Premonition" is a film with an interesting premise, but it needs stronger direction, stronger writing, and stronger acting to raise it above its basic cable movie of the week roots.
Do YOU want to pay $11 to see something that should have been on basic cable?