96 Min. | Action – Sci-Fi – Thriller | April 2007
IMDB Rating: 6.2
Director: Lee Tamahori
Staring: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel
Next Review: Next is a movie with a very interesting concept. But that concept requires a very smart script to make it work. And unfortunately the script here proved nowhere smart enough to enable the movie to really succeed. The movie backs itself into corners it has no way out of and then just blatantly cheats to get out of them. The first half of Next shows good promise as the story sets itself up. But that setup is never properly paid off. The drama doesn’t build, instead it fizzles out. Things start to get rather dull. Then things get really convoluted and the writers can’t untangle the mess they’ve made. It all leads up to an ending which falls completely flat and kind of insults the viewer to boot. If you run the movie back through your mind you realize it doesn’t add up, doesn’t make sense.
The story of Next, follows small-time Las Vegas magician Cris Johnson who has the unique ability to be able to see two minutes into his own future. He tells nobody about his powers but FBI agent Callie Ferris somehow figures it out and recruits him to help prevent terrorists setting off a nuclear bomb. Well, she tries to recruit him anyway. Cris, with his unique vision, sees her coming and is gone before Callie can find him. Meanwhile there’s this other woman whom Cris keeps having visions of. In the visions she’s walking into a diner so Cris goes to the diner every day waiting for her. She never shows up. Until conveniently she does show up on the very day that the FBI is looking for Cris. He and the woman, Liz, take off for Flagstaff, Arizona. The FBI chases after them. So, for no apparent reason, do the terrorists. They have the bomb. Couldn’t they, you know, just set it off instead of chasing after some weird magician they really don’t know anything about and a random woman he happens to be traveling with?
Cris knows he can’t really avert this nuclear catastrophe. He knows the limits of his power, only being able to see two minutes into his own future, but the FBI does not. Would be interesting if the movie ever explains that but it never does. It’s just something that has to be true for Next to work. But it still doesn’t end up working. There are too many things here which just don’t make sense. Next establishes its rules and then breaks them whenever the writers can’t figure out a way forward. Cage does the best he can. Jessica Biel is pretty good too as the mysterious Liz. But the story lets them down as do some of their fellow performers. Julianne Moore seems very bored as she plays FBI agent Ferris. It’s pretty clear the way she mails her performance in that Moore resents being in what she believes to be a bad movie. There’s nothing at all memorable about the terrorists, they’re a largely faceless, nameless, worthless bunch. Cris has some personality and intrigue to him, Liz is a decent character but everyone else disappoints. An intriguing start but in the end Next is quite a letdown.