Starring: Sandra Bullock, Julian McMahon, Nia Long, Marc Macaulay, Kate Nelligan
Director: Mennan Yapo
It’s been a long time since I first drooled over Sandra Bullock in “Love Potion No 9” and “Demolition Man”. She’s now managed to settle nicely in middle-age while still looking like the cute 30 year old she was all those years ago.
Since the heady days of “While You Were Sleeping” and “A Time to Kill”, she’s struggled with consistency. For every “Speed” or “Miss Congeniality” there was a, uh, “Speed 2” and “Miss Congeniality 2”. No, I’m not forgetting her career-best “Crash”.
None of this gets me to the point.
“Premonition” – it does what it says on the tin. Linda Hanson (Bullock) is going about her day when a local sheriff (Marc Macaulay) tells her that husband Jim (Julian McMahon) has been killed in a car accident. Devestated by the news, Linda asks her mother (Kate Nelligan) to stay overnight and help her and her two kids.
The next morning Linda wakes up to find that it was all a vivid dream – her husband is alive and well and eating breakfast. But she can’t shake the vividness of it all and she wakes up the following day to find that her days are alternating – and it’s the day of Jim’s funeral. Suspecting a hoax she forces the pallbearers to open the casket – it’s no hoax.
Soon she works out that the premonition is very real and time is running out to save her husband’s life. But with their relationship strained and a suspicion that he is having an affair with a colleague (Amber Valletta), Linda finds herself torn. Is letting someone die the same as killing them?
My hopes weren’t high for “Premonition” given that the backwards-forwards plot winding has been done exceptionally well already in “Memento”. But where edgy mysteries like this have fallen flat before (“Next”) or run out of steam (“The Forgotten”), a well-directed plotline (albeit probably with holes everywhere) and thoughtful narrative carry “Premonition” through.
Bullock and McMahon perform well – in fact most of the cast do (Peter Stormare makes a welcome appearance too). It’s interesting to see Bullock play a character who is essentially time travelling, piecing together clues and slowly realising what these clues might just mean.
Most of the credit should go to writer Bill Kelly and director Mennan Yapo who had no easy task in front of him. But he paces it well, unleashing subtle clues and plot twists that produce a layer of suspense throughout the film. It’s not gripping but it’s an intriguing 100 minutes or so.