While visiting the graveyard of his beloved wife with his daughter Jesse, the physics professor John T. Neumeyer finds a case with a police dossier relating his death in five days. He initially believes it is a sick prank from the brilliant but deranged physics student Carl Axelrod, but when a series of events related in the documents occur, he realizes that the file has been sent from the future. With the support of Detective Irwin Sikorski, whose name is indicated in the file as in charge of the investigation of his death, and suspecting of everybody including his girlfriend Claudia Whitney that has a blurred hidden past, J.T. tries to change the future and his fate. But Carl believes that any modification in the time-line will jeopardize mankind and the future of the planet. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The events in the mini-series take place Monday, 7 June 2004 through Friday, 11 June 2004. The show premiered on the SciFi Channel (USA) on Monday, 7 June 2004 and consecutive episodes were shown each night through Friday, 11 June 2004 roughly following a real-time schedule. The fourth episode (with events ending at or slightly past 3.55am according to the script) was actually first shown at 9.00pm on Thursday, 10 June 2004, so the series did get ahead a bit. Additional date-specific product placements (for instance, a poster for The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), playing in theaters at the time, as seen on a slow pan at the university outside Neumeyer's office) and current popular culture references (for example, a reference to the popular show, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000), airing at the time on network TV) in conversation help reinforce this setup. See more »
In the fist part of the mini-series, J.T. Neumeyer promises his daughter that they will look for Orion with her new telescope. He is shown looking at Orion's Belt a little later that night. Orion's Belt is only visible from Washington in winter evenings, not June. See more »
Great concept, interesting performances, but blande as poundcake
Timothy hutton plays physics professor JT Neumeyer who while visiting his wife's grave discovers a thin silver brief case.
He opens it and discovers a group of files showing pictures of his death and newspapers clippings.
First declaring this as a practical joke, the events in the files play out slowly and now convinced that he'll die in five days, tries to find a way to prevent himself from dying and must change his destiny.
The concept is great despite being a bit derivative, and there's plenty of room for tension, suspense, and great bits on philosophy, but the screenwriters miss their chances.
The cast is comprised mostly of second rate actors with the exception of Hutton who tries his best at the lead role but ultimately fails towards the end of the film as he manages to go way over the top with his emotional scenes.
There's also Randy quaid who is quite bland and one-dimensional, and Angus McFayden who is the worst of the characters as the over the top mob boss Roy Bremmer. Watch for his really bad scenes as he attempts to inflict depth into his character but comes off as laughable.
Meanwhile the story has the ability to inject tension and sense of immediacy but all of it is loss in the bogged down story. Rambling and droning at some points it's difficult to understand why this couldn't have been a two hour film instead of a four parter.
There's also plenty of room for philosophy and the concept of destiny and fate towards death, but there's nothing here as the story is mostly comprised of uneventful occurances, slim character development, and so much dialogue.
While the film is engrossing at the beginning, it's ultimately lost halfway through as the plot is segued into the benign plot featuring McFayden which takes away from the actual reason why we're watching.
"Stay tuned for the shocking last minutes to 5 Days to Midnight" the Sci-Fi channel boasts which never usually works on me but I was rather interested to see where this was developing. But, unfortunately it was all just hype. I was expecting that Neumeyer's daughter would accidentally shoot him causing his death, and that we never got to see who sent the briefcase, but it's all pretty much explained in the end and nothing of the sort happens.
I wanted an ironic, witty, and shocking ending beneath the muddled plot and droning dialogue, but alas we're not given anything but an obligatory and rather disappointing happy ending.
Decent performances, a great concept but falls apart halfway through becoming routine and cliche. The writers never give this story and concept a chance to spread its wings and just keep it down to mediocre level.
** out of **** stars.
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