Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Countdown to Destiny

Next (2007) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Nostradamus pictureSince the age of three Cris Johnson has had the inexplicable ability to see up to two minutes ahead into the future, although the future will change for it's having been viewed. To escape unwanted attention, he as an adult is hiding this ability in the guise of a Las Vegas stage act under the pseudonym Frank Cadillac (Nicolas Cage.) To sup­ple­ment his meager earnings from the Back Page, he has taken to some low key casino gambling on the side, being care­ful not to win too much. Unfortu­nately, FBI special agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) has placed him on the top of her “gambling fraud wish list” until her observations lead her to conclude he has a genuine gift. Her boss in the mean­time wants every available agent now to drop what he's doing and work on locating a 10 kiloton terrorist nuke. Callie persuades him to give her five days to use the magician to help them.

Kaboom!She's at the Back Page when their Security Chief Roybal (Jose Zuniga) gets wise to the guy's winning streak and chases him out­side where he escapes in a stolen car. The FBI is bringing up the rear. Mean­while the terrorists who have been keeping tabs on the FBI want to kill the guy they're interested in. Frank takes time off from eluding his pursuers to visit a diner where he plans to meet the (imagined) girl of his dreams. He picks up lovely Liz Cooper (Jessica Biel) to share a road trip and take a scenic detour that will set them up to fall in love. All these forces converge at their room in the Cliff­hanger Motel with the movie “Failsafe” playing on the tube, in which the general states of the nuclear bombers, “Yes, gentle­men, they are on their way and no one can bring them back.”


Cinemagraphically the movie mimics the action in (Prov. 30:18-19) “There be three things which are too wonder­ful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.” Starting with “the way of an eagle in the air,” we have the intense video surveillance from above of the casino floor where Frank is trying to elude his pursuers, eventuating in a flying leap of his Charger over the train tracks right ahead of the train. In the wild the eagle scans the ground for his prey that does not wish to be spotted, and then there's the pounce and the capture.

Next comes the ground game, “the way of a serpent upon a rock.” To elude his pursuers Frank takes a leap down an escarpment followed by an avalanche of rocks and debris that he had to duck and dodge. It has all the elements of a serpent slithering down a rock, dealing with trans­verse forces, gravity, and terrain.

Then comes the water game, “the way of a ship in the midst of the sea.” Here we have a cargo ship delivering the nuke in pieces that the terrorists must assemble before secreting it some­where in the dock ware­houses. This turns into a cat and mouse game with real bullets.

The culmination is “the way of a man with a maid.” It is cinema­graphic­ally hard for us to follow the action above. It's beyond our scope to anticipate all the moves of the guy and the girl with each other. This is even true in the diner where Liz had been found by her ex boy­friend Kendall (Michael Trucco) who thinks they still have some­thing going with each other, but she shuts him down right proper. The other diners wisely refrain from interfering.

Until he grabs her arm and squeezes (“You're hurting me.”) At that point Cris feels its okay to step in. It's not until one of them gets knocked on the floor that some­one shouts, “SOMEBODY, CALL THE COPS!”

Cris for his part has to walk a fine line between who he is, a man with a gift of pre­cog­nition, and not using it to take undue advantage of the girl. He has to keep the favor of the audience to remain a good guy. We all know of happy couples who started out unevenly with one or the other persisting until bringing his or her love interest around.

Agent Callie has a tough decision to make. Does she stoop to torture to get a reluctant Cris to help them save a city from nuclear holocaust? One thing her conscience gives her no trouble with, how­ever, is lying to Liz to get her to help them trap her fellow (“He's a delusional socio­path.”) We are not allowed to lie to the police, but the Supreme Court has decided that it's okay for them to lie to us to further their investigations. One of the troubling things these days is a new allowance for the police to move forward their interference trip point for involving them­selves in personal matters that were formerly left to couples to sort out them­selves, or with the help of the community. It's hard enough for an average joe to figure out what's happening with a couple, but the police don't do any better, and then they have higher mandates that might inter­fere, and they're also allowed to lie about it. What, do we always believe the woman by default? In this case the woman is the lying cop. Movies help us place these and other dynamics into proper perspective.

Production Values

” (2007) was directed by Lee Tamahori. It was based on a short story “The Golden Man” by Philip K. Dick. Its screen­play was written by Gary Gold­man, Jonathan Hens­leigh, and Paul Bern­baum. It stars Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Biel. Moore pulled off an excellent job as a tough FBI agent, though I think she was miscast. She didn't look the part though she acted it OK. Nicolas Cage did his expected good job as a conflicted magician, and Jessica Biel looked good as his guileless love interest.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for intense sequences of violent action, and some language. “Next” is directed at a frenetic pace set to pounding music. The action is speeded up & the camera at times spins like crazy around the hapless magician. I think it was all deliberate. There are some softer effects concerning the woman.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

I think the film does a good enough job as a sci-fi flick, a police thriller, and a touching romance story, though it fails to exceed the sum of its parts. It would make a good picture to see as a couple or as a group who have different preferences in genre but who generally enjoy the movies.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Special effects: Average special effects. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.