Movie Thoughts: PREMONITION
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Love in the Third Degree.
I finally saw Sandra Bullock’s Premonition last night. The girls and I had wanted to see the movie ever since we saw the trailer. It looked like it had all the stuff I love—suspense, a little bit of time travel, fighting the forces of fate, strong woman, high woo-woo factor.
The movie surprised all three of us. We were expecting some heavy-duty psychological suspense. Or a huge mindbender puzzle. It wasn’t quite like that, but I think I’ve put my finger on it.
The last suspense-y movie I saw was Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen in The Number 23, and I way more preferred the number 300, where I already knew everybody would die. The actors were terrific in The Number 23, but the plot? You could drive a fleet of jack-knifing semi-trucks through it. I thought initially that with Premonition, there’d be more of a mindbender and I quickly set out to solve it.
Basically, Linda bounces around in time over the course of a week with the days out of order and remembering only what happened in the previous day she lived versus the previous day everyone else lived. This means that some surprises aren’t revealed until the last day or two of the week, which for her is in the first and middle of the week before her husband of many years is killed in a car accident and she has a chance to save him. It also means that she doesn’t know what happened and can’t answer other people’s questions late in the week because those things haven’t happened yet in her timeline.
So as for puzzles, yes, things are revealed and every little thing fits. It’s like the old advice from someone in the writing biz who said that, as an author, you never mention a gun on the kitchen table unless you plan to use it. Everything is used. The dead bird, the stickers on the glass, the answering machine messages. It certainly gives new meaning to the term losing it in regard to a woman’s grief.
There was one moment toward the end when I thought it was going to revert into a sappy movie but fate had a twist to it that saved it, for me, at least. And at one point, I thought the writers were trying to make Linda responsible for her husband’s decision to be faithful or not and it seemed to go in a direction I didn’t appreciate but even that evened out for me.
But what really surprised me about the whole movie was that it wasn’t the psychological suspense I’d thought it would be. And yet…throughout the movie, I was on the edge of my seat. I found myself gripping my chair when she was trying to stop her daughter, not because I didn’t know what was going to happen but because I did know and I was helpless but to watch it happen. I immersed myself in her sorrow, after living through her husband’s funeral, when she woke and found him in the shower earlier in the week and he was annoyed at her tearful display. I understood when she wondered if she should let him die or fight for what they’d lost over the years of being together.
On the way home, I finally put my finger on what it was that kept me so entranced and why it’ll be a long time before I forget this movie. It wasn’t the psychological suspense.
It was the emotional suspense.