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Thu April 26, 2007
Poor plot twist, poor FX, poor Nick.
By John DeSando, WCBE's It's Movie Time
"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward."
Two minutes ago I foresaw my review of Next: It was not a pretty sight, so I revisited the film and wrote a more favorable review. But Next remains a mediocre thriller whose conceit is a protagonist who can see two minutes into the future. Not a bad idea from the great science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, but as a film it feels clich?d, slow, repetitive, and mostly not suspenseful. Perhaps that's because Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage) sees what might happen and adjusts the present, thereby ironically sapping the surprise right out of the story.
FBI agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) needs Johnson's services to stop a smuggled nuclear bomb from exploding in Southern California (I know, you think one has already exploded and left only zombies driving expensive autos). Jessica Biel as Liz exists to have a love interest for Cage and to give a reason why he is occasionally able to see further into the future than two minutes. Why Cage allows himself to act in so many mediocre movies (e.g., Wicker Man, World Trade Center, Weather Man) since his Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas is a mystery to me, although he is a producer of Next and an avid comics fan. I can't discount the power of the pocketbook.
High-speed car races and explosions occur as they always do in American thrillers although the FX is the poorest I have seen recently. The plot twist is so tacky I rethought Perfect Stranger's and judged it genius by comparison. But seeing into the future for Next just didn't do it for me?it's still a weak thriller better suited to Rod Serling's Twilight Zone half hour.
Memento you ask? Don't, because it is such a great study of memory's tricks that Next shouldn't even be mentioned in the same review.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com