Next

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It happened. It just hasn't happened yet.

May 9, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

  • Bang For The Buck

Pros:Good effects, great music, initially good script...

Cons:... sloppy ending, a bit too repetitive...

The Bottom Line: Next manages to be quite entertaining and better than expected. Not great but a decent evening's entertainment.


Next stars Nicholas Cage (The Family Man, National Treasure), Jesseca Biel and Julianne Moore (Benny and Joon, Laws of Attraction, Children of Men) in a sci-fi thriller based on the story “The Golden Man” by Philip K Dick. His stories have been the inspiration for the brilliant Bladerunner, the slick thriller Minority Report, and the headache-inducing A Scanner Darkly. So… what about Next?

We start with a Las Vegas entertainer called Cris Johnson [stage name Frank Cadillac] (Cage) being watched by Callie Ferris (Moore)of the FBI. She has been watching him for some time and come to the conclusion that his cheesy showmanship actually masks an amazing ability foretell the future. Actually she’s right (that’s not really giving too much away given what the trailer reveals!!), but there are some sever limitations to his ability. She wants to enlist his help in an issue of national security – he on the other hand simply wants to live a quiet life.

The main handicaps on his fortune-telling abilities are that they’re limited to things that directly affect him, and he can only see the 2 minutes’ worth of the future. However there’s a girl he keeps seeing that seems to break both of these rules – so of course he desperately wants to meet her in order to find out just why she is different. Enter Liz (Jessica Biel), whose life is about to be turned upside down…

When I originally saw the trailer (see http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/next/hd/), it really didn’t fill me with confidence. What sounded quite a fascinating concept looked like it was going to be turned into a routine thriller. This isn’t quite the case – good use has been made of the concept to make the plot stand out as different – though some mistakes have prevented it from being quite as good as it could have been. The opening sequence begins promisingly enough but loses credibility quickly with a very silly chase sequence (though to be fair almost all chase sequences these days are unremittingly silly). Despite a slight over-use of sequences designed to give you an idea of what Cris’ life is like with his unique ability (it just goes on a little longer than necessary, slight niggle), it picks up again when Cris and Callie are to meet for the first time, before which a lighter touch is added to the movie thanks to an all too brief appearance by Peter Falk ((The Princess Bride). Then it starts to get interesting as Cris and Liz meet, and it turns out that the FBI aren’t the only ones interested in Cris. The film builds a real atmosphere of suspense and tension but then spoils much of the effect with a cop-put ending. The voiceover at the beginning doesn’t really help matters.

The cast are fine – Cage and Biel are pretty good, Moore is very good as a hard-bitten agent but rather less convincing when she turns into Action Woman nearer the end of the film. The special effects are very well handled and the musical score by Mark Isham is superb. Overall I did enjoy it rather more than I was expecting to, and had it not been for the sloppy ending that went nowhere I would probably have given it 4 stars. (It’s not that I saw the ending coming you understand, just that it’s not very satisfactory… when you see it you’ll know exactly what I mean!)


Like most other Nicholas Cage action movies, it is best enjoyed with brain sleeping on the couch next to you. (Well… to be truthful you could probably say the same about the majority of action movies in general.) It covers similar ground to the recent Deja Vu - and works rather better – as well as being in some ways similar to Thought Crimes (though not quite as good.)


Other Information

Director: Lee Tamahori
Runtime: 96 minutes (if they’d actually done something interesting with the ending it would have been fine to run for an extra 20 minutes or so.)
Rating: 12A (UK) PG-13 (USA) for intense sequences of violent action, and some language



See also: My Top Ten Science Fiction Films



Recommend this product? Yes


Movie Mood: Action Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Ending

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