YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


`Premonition' is a muddled vision

Sandra Bullock can't salvage this genre hash about a potentially fatal auto accident.

March 16, 2007|Kevin Crust | Times Staff Writer

That sinking feeling you had seeing the trailer for "Premonition" will get worse only if you take the bait and see the movie. Its biggest failing -- and the ultimate one for a lightweight entertainment such as this -- is that it's a deadly bore from start to finish. Even more annoying is its blind-alley structure resulting in an unsatisfying mind game for the audience.

Sandra Bullock stars as Linda Hanson, an unhappily married woman, moping through her daily routine of housework and providing shuttle service to her two young daughters. Linda's generically chilly relationship with her husband, Jim, (an uncharacteristically bland Julian McMahon) gets a jolt (for better or worse) when she learns he has been killed in an auto accident.

The meltdown doesn't really kick in until the next morning, when Linda seemingly awakens to discover that Jim is very much alive. Writer Bill Kelly and director Mennan Yapo begin playing with time at this point, cracking the temporal whip so as Linda is unsure exactly what is going on. Her days are ostensibly occurring in a random order that shreds logic. It's as if she loaded her calendar onto an iPod and hit shuffle. Is she going crazy? Is someone trying to make her think she's crazy? Should we call in Mulder and Scully?

Unfortunately, our desire to discover the answers to these questions is our only reason to continue watching. The filmmakers let everything ride on a concept that demands a big payoff but comes up empty in the end.

If the journey were more engaging, as with "Groundhog Day," or as challenging as "Memento," it wouldn't matter so much that the ending is such a letdown. If the film more fully explored the terror of aloneness or the fragility of relationships and the impact our emotions have on our perception of those around us, there might be enough substance to sustain our interest.

There's a portentous quality to Yapo's direction that hints at psychological horror, but it's paced as if it's a prestige drama rather than the genre hash it turns out to be. Bullock isn't bad, but there's a restraint to her performance that doesn't serve her or the picture well. There is a brief sequence late in the film where her character displays feistiness and begins muttering asides in response to her predicament, but it's too little, too late.

Time is a great cinematic device and when employed to its maximum benefit can be a magical thing. But when it's used strictly to distract from the fact that the emperor has no clothes, it's simply 97 minutes you will never get back.


"Premonition." MPAA rating: PG-13 for some violent content, disturbing images, thematic material and brief language. Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes. In general release.

Los Angeles Times Articles