Once upon a time, there was a merchant of Baghdad. One day his terrified servant
came running to him. Death had apparently gestured to him, and he wanted to hide
at Basara. The merchant gave him the fastest horse. Away he rode. The next minute
the merchant saw Death. "Why did you terrorize my servant?" he asked. "Not at
all," replied Death. "I was wondering what he was doing here in Baghdad when I
had an appointment with him in Basara."
This very famous fable proves that you cannot elude death once it has earmarked you as the final destination. That precisely is the theme this James Wong film analyses.
Its young hero, Nick Browning, is about to embark on a field trip to France in the company of his schoolmates. As their plane is about to take off, Nick has a powerful premonition that the plane is going to crash. His "hysterics" get him off the plane, "forcing" five other students and his teacher to stay back. Claire alone heeds his decision instinctively.
In seconds, the plane dutifully crashes. Having saved seven lives makes life no easier. In addition to the guilt trap, the FBI is after Nick now. Suspicions against him intensify as his autosuggestion predicts the death of the saved ones. What happens next? Do camaraderie and faith provide a shield against impending death? James Wong's latest has interesting answers.
Be prepared for a thorough disillusionment about how very superstitious the "advanced" countries are. Moreover, racial prejudices peep out when threatened with imminent death, I suppose. When Nick and Claire clandestinely visit the autopsy of their friend, supposedly a suicide, a "black" surgeon intones messiah-ically the Biblical verses, making everybody wonder if clever witchery is afoot.
The film is superb visually, though. The visualization of the premonitions is
sheer fireworks. If technical brilliance and hair-raising suspense form your preferences,
this is your film. Devon Sawa could be your other bet, given his efficient performance
as an adolescent racked by guilt, psychic powers and fear. An allright film, in
brief, if you are not expecting a repeat performance of the "Exorcist" variety.