The Nicolas Cage vehicle Next is about as high concept as films come. In fact, it's almost one of those "game show" concepts; Cris Johnson's gift is so complicated, someone has to keep explaining the rules. Which are basically that he can see two minutes into the future, but only events that affect him, and possibly some other stuff, or something. Of course, as with many high concepts, when they get the execution just right, it's enthralling. Viewers may sit in this state of suspended enthrallment for about the first 40 minutes of Next, which feature a cleverly serpentine array of proofs of his abilities, via snappy set pieces. And it's not surprising to find Cage at the center of these set pieces, as Next seems to have been written just for him, focused as it is on a hangdog tortured hero who always finds himself diving away from Jerry Bruckheimer explosions. But Next is no Con Air -- because it sprung from a novel by Philip K. Dick, it's got some stuff going on its brain. The script's delicious conundrums make the first half intellectually as well as viscerally pleasing. But it's about when director Lee Tamahori busts out his first really ridiculous sequence -- Cris intentionally brings an avalanche of trucks and houses upon himself to escape the feds, led by Julianne Moore -- that the film starts to give you that old familiar feeling of a smart movie gone belly up. To its credit, Next doesn't tumble all the way down that hill, but once the initial spell is broken, you feel foolish for ever having placed such confidence in it. And when the third act climaxes with one of those "oh come on" switcheroos that cheapen what's come before, viewers may find themselves the ones saying, "Next!"
by Derek Armstrong review