Movie Review 2007 #135: Next

Based on the Philip K Dick story “The Golden Man” and starring Nicholas Cage, Jessica Biel and Julianne Moore.

Nicholas Cage plays Cris, who uses a special talent to see two minutes into the future as a prop to his magic act. While his ability ends at two minutes into the future, it seems to have one major exception: he has a vision of a future meeting with a mysterious young woman (Biel) in a diner. And so in between magic acts, and cheating at cards, he stalks the diner in hopes of meeting the woman of his future.
And then there is Julianne Moore, who, instead of looking for a lost nuclear weapon set to be detonated in the US, is obsessed with the idea that Cage’s ability could be used to find it.
Where to begin?
Cage’s performance is lackluster and the voice over he does is inconsistently done throughout the movie. Biel has a thankless role as the love interest who, when she learns that Cris really is creepy, should take her previous advice spoken from earlier in the movie and get far far away from Cris. Instead, she falls for him. It’s useful for the plot, but it makes no sense from the perspective of character. Poor Moore has no character. She’s obsessed with Cris’ ability to see the future, even as a nuclear bomb threat looms. WHY, exactly?
It’s a movie that is less than the sum of its parts. Cage’s ability is frustratingly inconsistently portrayed and used, and we barely get a sense of how it works before he winds up on the run as the clock is ticking. Throw in terrorists who strangely have decided that Cris’ abilities are real and dangerous, and the movie has a lot going on at once. It just doesn’t work.
And the twist at the end can’t work according to the rules, however violated, established earlier in the movie. It might be successful in the Devil’s Advocate, which does something similar, but it doesn’t work here.
It’s a movie I wanted to like, and I couldn’t. It just doesn’t hold itself together.