| March 18, 2007

I am going to do something in this review that I rarely do. I am going to include a SPOILER. I will give you plenty of notice to stop reading, but you should know that I am going to give away the ending. I feel it is necessary, because up until the last five minutes of this film, you will have a very good time. But the ending is so sickeningly sweet “Hollywood Needs Redemption” that your opinion will change if you don’t walk out.
But on to the movie.
Premonition is the story of a housewife reliving the death of her husband several times while she comes to realize that she may be able to prevent it. Sandra Bullock plays Linda Hanson, who opens her door to a local sheriff bringing her news that, while heading to a job interview, her husband, Jim, was killed in a collision with a tanker truck.
Taking a page from Groundhog Day and twisting it a bit, writer Bill Kelly brings Linda back and forth through a week where she finds out Jim dies and deals with the lead-up to the accident, and the aftermath that follows it. If there were not some holes in the plot, Kelly (who has not written anything since Blast from the Past in 1999) would have a M. Night Shyamalan/The Sixth Sense kind of movie.
Bullock’s performance is brilliant in her revealing to us the process of losing a loved one. We feel her muted shock when she first learns of Jim’s death. The pain is palpable when she has to tell her daughters, although this would have been stronger if we didn’t know the outline of the movie from the trailers. Then, as she has flashbacks to different pre-accident days, she shows strong denial of his death. If we didn’t know she really did see him alive after getting the news he died, we would think she is nuts. But as passengers along for her ride, we know she is telling the truth. The next step of her bargaining that she can fix it brings her to an odd scene with her priest, where he has marked (with Post-Its, no less) a history book that has stories of other people who seem to see the death of their loved ones before it happens. Finally, as she finds out other details in the story, there is a calm acceptance that he is going to die and it might be his time. And finally, there is the realization she wants to save him.
Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck, Fantastic Four, Charmed), on the other hand, is rather flat all the way through playing husband Jim Hanson. He shows little emotion (okay, granted, for most of the movie he is dead) and we have no desire to save him. Similarly, Peter Stormare (Prison Break, The Brothers Grimm, Fargo) is completely miscast as a doctor to whom Linda goes for help. He must have been a friend of someone in casting or his agent was owed a favor.
And now, on to the ending. Ready? I am going to talk about the last five minutes of the movie now. You may want to stop reading if you plan on seeing the movie.
Still here? Okay. Premonition takes its two storylines and builds to a crescendo in which we see the actual accident that kills Jim. There was a chance it would not happen, because Linda, who is following him in her own car, gets him on the phone; we believe she’s in time and we think a happy ending will follow. And at that moment, it would have worked. But wait… He has stopped his car at the very place she knows the accident is going to happen. How the heck did she let that happen? One dropped cell phone and stalled car later (they always do stall when you need it to start right away… not) and boom–Jim is dead. Attention, director Mennan Yapo (Framed, 1999): Fade out here. End the movie on the ironic note that Linda decided to forgive her husband (I am not giving that part away) and decided to save him, but in the end, she couldn’t. But no, you had to give us an epilogue and tie it all up in a package.
Yapo adds a scene which shows the children and Linda getting ready to move from their home. They are all okay and dealing with the fact that daddy is gone and they are moving on. But Bullock gets up from the bed she is lying on and… she’s pregnant! Holy shit… Jim knocked her up before he died, so she gets to have one more permanent reminder of him… The only thing I can say is, “Gag me with a sickeningly sweet, unncessary-Hollywood-happy-ending spoon!
So there it is. Go see the film… But when you come to the end of the accident scene and the screen fades to black, get up and leave the theater. It will keep the good feeling you had about the movie without having this deplorable ending shoved down your throat because the director and/or studio believes you are too stupid and shallow to accept a sad ending to a movie.

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