Bullock Goes Back to the Future
"Premonition" starring Sandra Bullock is another one of those supernatural thrillers which looks like it should work but fails thanks to it ignoring its own rules. Like with any movie which plays about with events in a set time frame, rules are made so that when things start to reveal themselves they can be tied back to other events. But "Premonition", like others, ends up ignoring some of these rules so that the storyline turns into a convoluted mess causing it to become a diluted thriller. It doesn't matter that Sandra Bullock does a reasonable job in a lead role outside her comfort zone as the storyline doesn't work.
Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock - The Lake House) is a devoted mother to her two daughters and wife to her husband, Jim (Julian McMahon - Fantastic Four). Her happy existence is shattered when one day she is informed that Jim has died in a car accident. But when she awakes the next day she discovers Jim calmly eating breakfast in the kitchen causing major confusion. As the week progresses, each day in Linda's life fluctuates between Jim being alive and dead causing Linda to struggle to make sense of what is happening to her. When she finally realises that she is in the midst of a premonition she decides to take action to stop the events from the future coming true.
As already mentioned "Premonition" falls foul of messing about with the rules it sets up early on in the movie causing the storyline to feel messy, but this is not the only reason why it struggles to really work. The screaming obvious issue for me is in the character of Linda and the fact that although confused by what is happening in her life never overly questions it. She too readily accepts that somehow she is seeing into the future and although she tries to discover why this is happening to her it has no impact or drama. Like with similar movies an attempt to explain things is given but in doing so not only makes things even messier but is so weak in explanation it is wasted. "Premonition" would have been better off by not trying to give a logical explanation as to why and concentrating on ramping up the thrilling aspect of being able to see events before they happen.
Things are not helped when certain scenes feel diabolically choreographed, most notably the scene leading up to the funeral where having been told she can't see her husband in his coffin it accidental drops and comes open. Excuse me, but that was too coincidental and made "Premonition" feel very cheap rather than finding a better way to do things and increasing the cleverness instead.
Credit where credit is due "Premonition" does manage to tie in some unexpected sub plots which make the reveal, as Linda tries to make sense of the out of sequence events, all the more interesting. Some of these sub plots are interesting and surprisingly well developed, whilst others along with certain events feel like they have been included to pad out the storyline. But all in all the blend of storylines works.
As for the performances, well despite having a poor character in the form of Linda, Sandra Bullock does quite a good job of making the character interesting. As already mentioned the character of Linda is far too accepting of what is happening but Bullock does manage to deliver both feelings of confusion and vulnerability as her world comes crashing down around her. Opposite Bullock is Julian McMahon as her husband Jim, but between not having much screen time and a lack of chemistry with Bullock the character ends up being 2 dimensional and lacking personality. As with the criticism of Linda's acceptance of matters, Jim doesn't seem over concerned by his wife's ever increasing strange behaviour and this certainly doesn't help build up any empathy for the character.
What this all boils down to is that "Premonition" is a less than thrilling movie which is a bit of a convoluted mess thanks to it ignoring its own rules. Is it very supernatural, sadly not and neither is it hugely dramatic, even the climax lacks the impact it should. But what it does prove is that Sandra Bullock can do drama even when she is handed a rather disappointing character.