By: Jacob Bloodee Jacob Babcock
Next” is a sci-fi action film released in 2007 and stars Nicolas Cage as “Cris Johnson”, a man who can see ahead by a couple minutes. He keeps a low profile as a magician and con man in Vegas. When he prevents a shooting he is noticed by the FBI and sought by agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) who then seek him out to prevent a terrorist attack. All this while for some reason seeing days ahead to meeting Liz (Jessica Biel).
I’ve had a draw to this movie for a bit mostly due to Julianne Moore co-starring, who is one of the greatest to ever do it. She does well as a hard nosed agent who is a good person but very focused on the big picture. I like Nic Cage too but you have to be in the mood for him, although he is usually pretty consistent and likable when he puts the effort in. He does a good job here and pulls off the quick thinking of the character well. Biel’s role is a little more one note but she gives a genuine enough performance. I also liked seeing Jim Beaver whose been great in particularly Supernatural but also Justified, Dexter, Deadwood and more. Thomas Kretschmann is on bad guy duties, the terrorist head honcho. His motivations are never explained he’s just out to blow shit up cause…that’s bad!
I was able to get past the baddie being a little weak due to being all in all pretty engaged with the plot. Sure Cris being able to see ahead is a gimmick that easily lends itself to the genre but I appreciated that it remains critical to the plot for the entire runtime. It matters and they kept finding ways to constantly incorporate the ability into the film. This includes a particularly clever and even funny opening of Cris evading security at a casino, a couple good fake out moments (though those do get a little
tiring) and even a solidly choreographed fight scene near the end. It is used for both a little humor and to add to dramatic tension.
It’s paced out pretty well and I never got bored. However the ending is a little frustrating and I can understand why some may feel jipped but I do think it still worked within the confines and style of the narrative. I should also mention this was directed by Lee Tamahori whose helmed everything from the loathed Die Another Day to the decent XxX: State of the Union and the excellent thriller The Edge. So quite the mixed work but he does always have an energy.
I’ve gave myself the day to think on it and overall I did really enjoy this one. The gimmick was used well and actually mattered, excellent pacing, some fine action and chases and the leads all brought the brand of quality expected. Personally one of my favorite Cage films now and I think it’s gone a little under appreciated.