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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Baffling to Me
by Geoffrey D. Roberts

Next, loosely based on Philip K. Dickís story titled "The Golden Man," stars Nicolas Cage as a person with the innate ability to see two minutes into the future. Unfortunately, this slow-moving film is poorly written and executed, thereby squandering its potential as an action thriller.  

After being subjected to numerous psychiatric evaluations and military experiments as a child, Cris Johnson (Cage) has kept his special gift hidden from others. He resides in Las Vegas and uses the alias Frank Cadillac to avoid being detected. However, Cris has seen enough of his future to know that important people will inevitably learn about his gift and try to find him. When they do, he fears they will force him to use his powers -- on a full-time basis -- to benefit mankind or to aid those with evil intent.

Cris is now a small-time magician at a Vegas nightclub. The gig doesnít pay him much, so he supplements his income using his powers to cheat casinos out of their money. On one particular day, management at a local casino becomes suspicious because Cris has been seen snooping around the establishment and winning all too frequently at the card table. When a security guard discovers that Cris is actually Frank Cadillac, he suspects ďFrankĒ of using  sleight of hand to rip them off. Before security can apprehend him, Cris heads to the cashierís window to get his winnings. While in line Cris, notices a man reaching for a gun hidden in his pocket. The man fatally shoots the cashier and a bystander during a botched heist. Our hero then goes back in time to two minutes prior to the holdup, knocks the thief to the ground and takes away his gun.  Naturally, security and the police think Cris is the perpetrator. As they give chase, Cris slips out the front entrance and steals a car from the valet.

Managing to outrace the police and hide the stolen car, Cris becomes aware that FBI agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) has been tracking him and is about to burst into the garage where heís taken the auto. For reasons unknown, Callie strongly believes Cris can dramatically alter future events because of his gift. She wants him to pinpoint exactly where terrorists plan to set off a bomb which will destroy a part of Los Angeles in the next 48 hours. What Callie doesnít know is that Cris only sees what directly affects him, so he canít help her. Meanwhile, Cris has met Liz (Jessica Biel), a young woman heís had recurring visions of, and hitched a ride to Arizona with her.

The talents of Moore and Biel seem wasted here. Cage tries to be believable, but ultimately, even he falls short. Nothing saves the film from Lee Tamahoriís heavy-handed direction and a baffling screenplay by Gary Goldman, Jonathan Hensleigh and Paul Bernbaum. Many viewers will probably be as mystified as I am over how Callie knew of Cris and his powers. I canít help wondering why that crucial point wasnít explored.

(Released by Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios and rated "PG-13" for intense sequences of violent action, and some language.)


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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