'Premonition': OK thriller proceeds without a Hitch

Bullock fantasy flick plays it safe on infidelity

Posted: March 16, 2007

"Premonition" is positioned as a horror/thriller, but down deep it's a fantasy.

A woman's fantasy about what should happen to a man if he so much as considers fooling around at the office.

It stars Sandra Bullock as Linda, a housewife who awakens from a horrifyingly vivid dream - her husband (Julian McMahon) has died in a car accident. But is it a dream? She goes downstairs to find mourners and in-laws already preparing for a funeral.

It's all too much for Bullock, who falls asleep exhausted. When she awakens, her husband is alive. This process repeats itself, until Bullock's character realizes she's stuck in some kind of time-space-dream continuum, and tries to figure out a way - during those stretches when her husband is alive - to prevent his death (leading to an unintentionally funny scene in which she compiles a "to do" list).

Not that he deserves it. In her search for clues as to how to keep him alive, she finds clues of another sort - indications that he may be contemplating an affair with a colleague.

This makes her somewhat less feverishly determined to save his life, and raises an interesting possibility - Linda realizes that if she drags her feet just a little, her husband will die. But she won't have killed him, technically, so she needn't feel technically guilty.

After all, she didn't create this wrinkle in time, so is it her fault if it smooths out certain problems?

Hitchcock would have had a wonderful time with this, but it's too disturbing a notion for "Premonition" to play around with for very long. Linda consults a clergyman, and the movie retreats to the safety and comfort of reassuring choices. This has the effect of making "Premonition" a morally upright movie, but also a less interesting one.

Still, you can't say all the movie's choices are safe and reassuring, especially given the way it ends. There's an explosion, and the rising smoke sends a clear signal to the men in the audience: don't even think about it. *

Produced by Ashok Amritraj, Jon Jashni, Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot, Sunil Perkash, directed by Mennan Yapo, written by Bill Kelly, music by Klaus Badelt, distributed by Sony Pictures.

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