Premonition certainly has an interesting set-up. It is reminiscent of other films on the subject of premonition and precognition, most of which draw themselves from the undisputed classic in the genre Dont Look Now (1973) and various imitators that subsequently copied its clever visual jigsaw puzzle. In actuality, Premonition is conceptually more akin not to a precognition and clairvoyance drama but time travel films like Twelve Monkeys (1995), The Butterfly Effect (2004) and indeed The Lake House. All of these films use past, present and future as some kind of jigsaw puzzle and the unfolding of the story for the audience is in seeing how an element from one part of the story locks into place with the rest. For a time, Premonition becomes interesting in watching various aspects of this jigsaw falling into place.
The main problem with the film is not so much the scenario, which is quite interesting, but German director Mennan Yapos handling of it. Yapo shoots almost everything in tight and intimate closeups and constantly moving shots, which are clearly intended to evoke a feeling of emotionally being in Sandra Bullocks shoes. However, there is such a mannered niceness to it that none of it ever draws us in. Imagine for a moment if one were to take away the time travel element and tell the whole story on a linear level all that we would have would be a banal movie-of-the-week story about a marriage with a few problems and a woman then having to deal with the tragedy of her husbands death. What would be noticeable is that it would be a treatment that plied soft focus weepiness and emotive cues on you the whole way to the extent that even fans of the Romance Channel would be screaming enough.
Even more so, though Premonition delves into touching upon problems within a marriage, there is not the slightest dwelling upon what the issues actually are. At most Julian McMahon announces Its just not working but we never know why he feels that way. He decides that he was tempted into having an affair with Amber Valletta because he wasnt happy but again we never find out what he wasnt happy about. Beneath all Premonitions soft focus niceness and desire to sway you with weepy tragedy, it fails entirely to draw us into any kind of understanding of what the dysfunction infecting the marriage was about.
[PLOT SPOILERS]. The film reaches an ending where Julian McMahon ends up being killed on the highway anyway and we realise that despite Sandra Bullocks having her premonition, the future she saw was predetermined and unchangeable. It does seem a cheat for a Chick Flick like this going out on a downbeat ending and leaving the heroine, after being miraculously granted such visions, powerless to affect what happens. One also found rather precious the epilogue the film goes out on where Sandra Bullock, having been encouraged by Jude Ciciolellas priest to decide what is important in life, gets up revealing that she is pregnant. Clearly the upshot has been for her to realise that what was important to her in life was being rid of the husband that she loved and being left to raise three children on her own financially unsupported.