You just have to accept you’re usually either going to be hit or miss whenever Nicholas Cage is in a film. I like the guy as an actor in general, but wow can he pick some awful stuff to be in. So what about “Next“. Well, you add a hottie like Jessica Biel, a great performer like Julianne Moore and a Phillip Dick story to the mix and hope seems to return. But wait… a 29% rating on Rotten Tomates? Oh oh.
The idea of Next goes like this:
“Las Vegas showroom magician Cris Johnson has a secret which torments him: he can see a few minutes into the future. Sick of the examinations he underwent as a child and the interest of the government and medical establishment in his power, he lies low under an assumed name in Vegas, performing cheap tricks and living off small-time gambling “winnings.” But when a terrorist group threatens to detonate a nuclear device in Los Angeles, government agent Callie Ferris must use all her wiles to capture Cris and convince him to help her stop the cataclysm”
Ok, so not a bad concept. But how was the movie?
The pace of this film is fantastic. No, it’s not go go go go… it’s not an adrenaline rush. But the story keeps moving forward. It speeds up, it slows down, but all with a definite sense of pace and timing to it that always kept me in the film. The movie never seems to dwell on unimportant facts or characters more than necessary, each scene feels just long enough to deliver it’s point and then moves on. The story never races towards the finish line… but it never loses momentum either. Very well done in that regard.
The dialog was quite good. I turned to the person I saw the film with more than once and whispered to them “you know, that scene could have been a whole lot more cheesy that it was”. I never had any of those “Oh god, she didn’t just really say that did she?” moments. The lines in the humor and serious stuff all came off quite naturally.
Nicholas Cage’s power in the film (seeing 2 minutes into the future) doesn’t seem like you could build a whole movie around it… but they find great little uses for this power in the film that made me go “Damn that was cool” at least 4 or 5 times.
The movie doesn’t answer all the questions. I LOVE that. Yes, the movie resolves… but it leaves a couple of questions unanswered… without feeling like everything had to be tied up in a nice little bow for the audience. Part of that was just good story telling… another part of it was to leave a door wide open for a sequel (I personally think they could make a very good franchise out of this film)
This will seem a bit contradictory at first so please just bare with me here. The “bad guys” were pretty damn lame in my opinion. Yes, they were mean, yes they killed people… and yes they had dirty french accents… but what often gives a villain a real presence in a film… what makes them truly scary to me is often “motivation”. Why do they do what they’re doing is an important question that helps flesh out the conflict and gives a better “dread” to the antagonist. This film lacked anything for the villains except the aforementioned dirty french accent (which on its own doesn’t really inspire a lot of fear).
Sorry guys, I know most credible film critics are bashing this flick… and I thought it would be trash too… but you know what? I REALLY liked this movie. To me it’s the best film I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks. It was fun, some good humor, Cage was likable, the way the director took a simple concept and just really made it work on screen and a terrific ending. I thought this film was a hoot. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.. but I had fun watching it. Over all I give “Next” an 8 out of 10.