The latest in a string of Sandra Bullock mystery thrillers, Premonition is a jumbled mess of unexplained time travel and its consequent inconsistencies, and while not wholly lacking in entertainment value, does raise more questions than it answers – questions like “Why is this happening to her again?” and “Why can’t she change things?” and possibly “What made me watch this movie in the first place?”
Jokes aside, on first viewing of this latest addition to the time-traveling suspense film, one has to wonder about the numerous loose ends, plot holes, and disturbingly unsatisfactory resolution. I suppose the film didn’t necessarily want the viewer to delve too deep into its mysteries, but the explanation “some things can’t be explained” only works when the main plot doesn’t depend on any reasons. Unfortunately Premonition does and we’re left holding the bag – without knowing what’s in it.
Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) appears to have the ideal family life – a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a brand new house. But one day after receiving a bizarre phone call from her husband Jim (Julian McMahon) she is informed by a police officer that he has died in a car accident. Distraught and in disbelief, Linda attempts to carry out the rest of her day normally, but eventually cries herself to sleep that night. She awakens the next morning to discover Jim is alive and well – it was all just a bad dream. Or was it? Each day she awakens to a new nightmare of inconsistencies traveling back and forth in time and must uncover the terrifying events that lead up to her husband’s tragic demise.
The movie begins refreshingly enough with an adequate dose of confusion and disorientation as we learn of Linda’s troubling plight. But soon it becomes apparent that the plot is in over its head and more disturbing than the events surrounding the protagonist is the inexplicable direction the film is heading. After each non-sequential day passes, more questions and inconsistencies are created – so many in fact that the audience will realize that there isn’t sufficient time left in the two hour flick to resolve them all. So we are left with the inexcusable “some things are unexplainable” explanation which will likely cause more frustration than the inherent inevitability of Linda’s predicament.
Premonition attempts to be ominous – and succeeds at times – but with several cheap scares and random events that don’t add up, appreciation will be lost for the truly foreboding sequences. When the police officer that informs Linda of her husband’s death appears on a different day, one might think a conspiracy is in the works, but no, it’s just another random occurrence thrown in to add more confusion to an already convoluted premise. Whenever time travel is introduced in a story so are questions about the nature of altering the past, present, and future, but Premonition relies on the audience accepting its fixed rules without pondering their plausibility. Before there can be a “who,” “what,” or “where,” there needs to be a “why,” but you won’t find one here. The film ends prematurely without divulging any reason for its “premonition” and therefore accepting the apparent inevitability of its conclusion and Linda’s wanton disregard for trying to change the future and preserve her seemingly perfect life may be disappointingly difficult to swallow.
Though Bullock admirably tries to hold Mennan Yapo’s thriller together, this Premonition becomes a little too much time travel and our belief can only be suspended so far before snapping from the weight of the impossibly unexplainable – it will leave you guessing until the very end, and unfortunately quite some time afterwards. While the film traverses seven days of one nightmarish week for Sandra, only about three of them made any sense, hence its score.