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Premonition - Movie Review
By Emily Groveman - March 05, 2007

Premonition, Staring Sandra Bullock & Julian McMahon
Premonition, Starring Sandra Bullock & Julian McMahon
 
Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock
 
Sandra Bullock & Julian McMahon
Sandra Bullock & Julian McMahon
 
Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock
Have you ever heard the phone ring and knew who it was before you picked up? (By the way, it doesn't count if you have Caller ID.) Well, imagine this: you wake up, get out of bed, gather your things and take the kids to school, just like any other day. But your routine is interrupted when an officer at the door informs you that your spouse has died.

You go through the motions of telling your kids and, though still in shock, realize that you have a funeral to arrange. Then you wake up the next day to find your sweetie sleeping beside you, alive and well. Was it just a bad dream? Or was it a glimpse of something that is about to happen… a "premonition?"

This is the unlikely situation in which Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) finds herself in German director Mennan Yapo's latest film, Premonition. Hanson learns that her husband, played by Julian McMahon, died in an accident; the next day, she finds him alive. She eventually realizes that she is living the days of her life out of order, and that these premonitions might give her a chance to keep her family together by saving her husband from an untimely death. But, as one premonition leads to another, Sandra Bullock's character becomes increasingly aware of hidden facets to her husband's life. Therein lies the conundrum she must deal with as she struggles between her love for her husband and her disdain for his secret life. Does she use her great premonition for good or simply let the gift of future knowledge fall by the wayside?

As a great admirer of the time travel genre, I was excited to experience Premonition. However, different from the greats, like Memento, Back to the Future, and The Time Machine, one of the challenges I endured with Premonition was that at its conclusion, I was unsure exactly how Sandra Bullock's character was receiving this premonition. Was Linda actually going to the future to live one day, then back to the past to live another, then back to the future, and so on? Or was it more as in Memento, in which the actual events of the film did progress in normal chronology, yet were presented out of chronological sequence as some eccentric, yet genius technique to beautifully illustrate the mysterious plot? At the end of the film, I found myself wondering; yet, after further reflection, I've come to feel more confident in my belief as to the answer. Perhaps this is the great mystery of Premonition.

The cast of this psychological thriller does not disappoint. Kate Nelligan is wonderful as Linda's mother, Joanne, who tries to help Linda cope with the loss of her husband, though she clearly does not understand what her daughter is going through. Julian McMahon balances Bullock nicely, and the two have great chemistry on screen. Nia Long (Annie) and Peter Stormare (Dr. Norman Roth) also give strong supporting performances.

Sandra Bullock delivers a convincing performance as Linda, demonstrating her range as an actress (this is quite a stretch from her popular Miss Congeniality films). The audience empathizes with Linda and shares her frustration as she tries to put together the pieces of this complicated puzzle: Who is the strange woman who appears at her husband's funeral? She knows Linda, but Linda has never seen her before in her life. How did she get a prescription for Lithium from a doctor that she's never met? And what happened to Linda's daughter, whose face is marred by horrifying stitches? Bullock makes even the most impossible situations seem entirely believable.

The script, written by Bill Kelly, is a unique departure from a typical psychological thriller. It is suspenseful without being laden with guts and gore. The element of time-play is interesting, because unlike other films that are told out of chronological order, such as Memento, the sequence of days in Premonition is seemingly completely random. While this device is not as successful as it is in other films, it at least serves to heighten the suspense and keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

The ending may not leave you completely satisfied, but you will be thinking about the events of Premonition long after you leave the theater.

Premonition
Rated PG-13. Runtime 97 min. Theatrical release 3/16/2007.

PR.com Rating: B

Premonition - Movie Review


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