starring Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel and Peter Falk
screenplay by Gary Goldman, Jonathan Hensleigh and Paul Bernbaum
directed by Lee Tamahori
Based on the Philip K. Dick novel The Golden Man, Next is about a man who can see the future - what will happen next - but only two minutes ahead of time, and only if it affects him personally - his own future. Furthermore, a rarely calculated problem about telepathic foresight is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle - the phenomenon that seeing the future effectively changes it, thus still rendering the future uncertain just as if foresight did not occur in the first place. The Heisenberg Uncertainly Principle renders negligible the foresight premise, and so I think it is a difficult premise for a story. But I still thought it was intriguing and could potentially produce an excellent, memorable film. But as it was, the movie was only average and it could have been much better than it actually was. First of all, it would have been better if Nicolas Cage had a better hair cut. What an awful doo! Next, Julianne Moore delivers a totally unconvincing act as a female federal agent. Gillian Anderson does a much better job of it portraying Agent Dana Scully in The X Files, and so does Jody Foster in The Silence of the Lambs.
Terrorists have stolen a Russian nuclear device and smuggled it in to California. No explanation or background is provided. The FBI knows it and is on the case, but the weapon and its possible use by terrorists inside the mainland United States is not the story here. The story is how federal agent Julianne Moore approaches the problem from a paranormal perspective and wants to use an authentic seer who is masquerading as a Las Vegas magic act, to find the device’s location. That by itself begs dozens of probability questions. There is no explanation. So while the rest of the FBI is running around pursuing more conventional avenues of investigation, Julianne Moore is chasing a psychic magician from Vegas. Dumb!