Eye For Film >> Movies >> Next (2007) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
When you examine the plot in the warm light of the pub, it falls laughing at your feet and yet in the cinema the madness of the game is hugely enjoyable. Questioning reality when you have Nic Cage, the beautiful Julianne and gorgeous Jessica Biel in full strut is like complaining about the aliens in Slaughterhouse-Five. With fiction, as with film, you let imagination ride free.
Frank Cadillac, alias Cris Johnson (Cage), is a professional magician, working the clubs in Vegas. What he knows and no one else does is that he was born with a special gift. He can see two minutes into the future and what is more can change it to suit himself. He can’t do this for everyone, only if it affects him personally.
Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) is an energetic FBI agent. Being smaller than her fellow Feds, she does everything at top speed, like the kid in The Incredibles. And she’s serious, dead serious. A nuclear device has been stolen and rumour (intelligence) has it that the bad guys, whoever they are, plan on exploding it in Los Angeles. Before you ask, “Do people hate The Terminator that much?”, relax, because there isn’t time to find out their motive. They are not Arab, which is a relief, and look European, probably German, with French connections.
Somehow Callie suspects that Cris has telepathic skills, or useful weirdness that might benefit her search for these ruthless psychopaths, and so hunts him down to tell him it’s his dooty to protect the nation and find the nuclear thingie before it detonates in the centre of Tinseltown. But Cris has something else on the go and her name is Liz (Biel) and he’s not about to jeopardise a budding romance with destiny’s girl for a paranoid story about a dirty bomb.
Based on a novella by Phillip K Dick – always a good start – Next is never entirely sure how far to go with Cris’s magic trick, and so goes too far. There are Groundhog Day sequences when Cris reruns the present if it doesn’t go his way, which makes him almost invincible. By the end, it gets silly, which is a waste of an great idea. Why cheat when the two-minute limitation is tight enough to seriously concentrate the mind, especially when you are dealing with 9/11 – Part Two: A Taste Of Armageddon.
Cage conveys the unease Cris feels about knowing too much about what is about to happen extremely well, while performing his new action hero persona with steely efficiency. Moore’s role is underwritten, which gives her little leeway except to act like a man in a man’s world. Biel has to look sexy in jeans and scared as a hostage. She manages both without exhaling.
The title is baffling. Either it is product placement on a grand scale, or an invitation to move on.Reviewed on: 30 Apr 2007
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