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Premonition - DVD Review

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</script></div>{/googleAds}Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that the past year has been plagued with cinematic characters strangely cursed by clairvoyance? First, Denzel Washington experienced déjà vu via satellite technology in the ever-so aptly titled, Déjà Vu; then, Nicholas Cage possessed the miraculous ability to see minutes into the future in Next; Taye Diggs repeatedly relived the same twenty-four hours, à la Groundhog Day, in television's short-lived Day Break; and now, Sandra Bullock suffers a tragic trick of the mind when she learns of her husband's death - one week prior to the horrific accident - in Mennan Yapos's supernatural thriller, Premonition.

Albeit tired of the recycled plot scheme known as psychic phenomenon, I must admit that Bullock's is the most ambitious and emotive of these time-altering projects, in that over a non-sequential week, it questions one woman's faith-driven ability to either change future events or reconcile the chaos. Even more so, it affords a typically comedic Bullock the opportunity to shine as a leading dramatic actress. Disappointingly however, neither that talent or faith can save the flagrant script inconsistencies, misleading diversions or lagging suspense that prevents Premonition from evolving into the psychological mystery it was intended to be.

Chances are, you have already seen the trailer. Linda Hanson (Bullock) leads a seemingly perfect existence. A stay-at-home mom to two beautiful daughters, she is not only happily married to the love of her life, Jim (Nip/ Tuck's Julian McMahon), but lives in a gorgeous Victorian home in picturesque suburbia. At first glance, they appear to be the quintessential American family. But within an instant, Linda's familial life is destroyed when a police officer delivers devastating news: while on an overnight business trip, Jim perished in a car crash.

Paralyzed by grief, Linda is convinced that she cannot go on, let alone begin funeral preparations. But after finally falling asleep with wedding photo in hand, Linda awakens to a new day - and to eerily find Jim alive and well. Emotionally shaken at the sight of him, Linda persuades herself that the accident was merely a traumatic nightmare. But when she continually awakens to a new day - finding herself in the midst of Jim's wake, her daughter's face grossly disfigured, receiving messages from Jim, or noticing a strange woman at her husband's funeral - Linda realizes that the events of that week are inexplicably occurring out of sequence. Stripped of sanity and time, she has no choice but to embrace her precognition, attempt to conceive order from confusion and fight to prevent the very premonition that is haunting her.

Initially, Premonition and its Memento-esque premise are grossly engaging. Opening with a flashback to the early days of Linda and Jim's marriage reinforces the strength of their love, so that when Linda is hit with the horrific details of his death, the heartbreaking emotion blind-sides us with equal power. Likewise, when Linda opens her eyes to find her husband standing before her, her mind-bending urgency pulls us in like a magnetic force. However, inescapable plot holes and script inconsistencies cause it to uncontrollably lose that engaging momentum.

For example, when the police officer notifies Linda that her husband died on a local highway, he never explains why he was â"delayed" a full day in contacting the next of kin. Furthermore, she is neither asked, nor does she request, to identify the body before proceeding to burial. In fact, it is not until the actual funeral that Linda suddenly demands to have the casket opened - a request that we know can only lead to horrific results this late in the game.

Pushing those slights aside, when Jim is alive and Linda seeks to hold him just one minute longer, or begs that â"if tomorrow is Wednesday" he will not leave without waking her, he never once thinks to question her erratic, emotional behavior. Even more ridiculous is that when Linda cannot explain why her daughter's face is scarred, no one bothers to ask the daughter what happened; instead, Linda's mother (Kate Nelligan) and best friend (Nia Long) simply have Linda institutionalized. Huh? With far too many simple questions left unanswered and a host of unintelligible plot lines thrown together, the result is a mentally exhausted and disinterested audience.

Likewise, this film strips its suspense factor to the bone far too early. Now I am no Perry Mason, but I would venture to guess that if a tear-ridden Supermodel (Amber Valletta) is hiding behind a tree during Jim's burial, and then runs when his wife approaches - she is probably the mistress of the deceased. Game over. Then, just when you think that the burned-out script has been reignited by Linda's contemplation of allowing Jim to die for his extramarital activities, Yapo and Writer Bill Kelly allow the intriguing twist to drop without further development. Instead, we are left with a desperate heroine, who is so confused, that she is forced to chart out the less-than-suspenseful week's events in order to achieve some semblance of sanity. Trust me, we share her pain.

Even more disheartening is that this film is unsure as to whether it should remain a psychological thriller or evolve into a spiritual journey. In fact, towards the end the movie, it will suddenly shift gears in order to accommodate both theories, leaving viewers hungry for a definite resolution. (Those who watch the alternate ending on the DVD edition will find that Yapo, himself, was also unsure as to how Linda's premonition should be resolved.) Thankfully, and to his credit, he took the road less traveled, leaving us with a beautiful closing shot that will be difficult to shake.

Also, in Bullock's defense, despite the staggered script she provides a dramatic performance that should be applauded. When she receives dreadful news, we feel her knees buckle beneath her; when she holds her children a little longer, we feel the fear and desperation from within; when she momentarily contemplates her husband's death, we feel that woman scorned; and when she has a second chance to save a deteriorating marriage, we feel the rebirth of a love once laid to rest. But Premonition never should have been merely a one-woman show. Disappointingly, the supporting talents of McMahon and Nelligan are wasted on characters who barely scratch the surface and are instead, consumed by a dominant female lead.

Overall, Premonition's idealistic and supernatural-turned-spiritual foundation is both ambitious and, at least initially, intriguing. But despite its ability to strike Bullock's female-faithful audience as well as those who have a penchant for twisting the psyche, it never quite reaches its mind-blowing potential. Amazingly, after viewing the trailer for Bullock's Premonition, I, too, had a premonition: that this middle-of-the-road film would not only leave its audience longing for newfound suspense in an over-indulged plot scheme, but that its innumerable script faux pas, lifeless supporting characters and insignificant red herrings would, instead, leave viewers exhausted from desperately trying to bring order to its non-sequential madness. And wouldn't you know - my prophecy was spot on.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Language and Sound: Closed Captioned; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French-Canadian: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

* Commentary: Feature-length audio commentary with director Mennan Yapo and star Sandra Bullock.
* Featurettes
o The Making of Premonition
o Bringing Order to Chaos
* Gag Reel
* Deleted Scenes - Four additional scenes that didn't make the final cut, in addition to an alternate ending clip

Number of discs: - 1- Keepcase packaging


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