Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage) has an alter ego: Frank Cadillac, stage magician in Las Vegas where he will perform of an evening to an audience of politely interested patrons fresh from the gambling tables. But he does this to hide a secret, as his magic powers are not all in the mind, in fact he has the ability to see two minutes into the future which enables him to make a comfortable life winning on the slot machines and at blackjack while staying out of trouble he can always see coming. But he is being hunted by FBI agent Carrie Ferris (Julianne Moore) - his talents are needed.
Although if you wanted to keep a low profile, perhaps appearing as the star of your own give the game away conjuring act would not be the best course of action to take? This hasn't crossed Cris's mind, or crisscrossed his mind for that matter, as after all if he can win modest amounts gambling every night why would he have to do the show at all? It could be down to him enjoying the work, though on the evidence of his performance he wouldn't be giving David Copperfield any sleepless nights as Frank Cadillac is as cheesy as you can get.
So with Cage applying his inimitable style to the role, this gets unintentionally amusing especially as many of his later scenes adopt the same manner, not only when Cris does his closeup tricks to delight other characters, but also when he's supposed to be very serious and looking into the future, only with more whooshy effects to let us know something sci-fi is going on. Sadly, while you could garner a few laughs out of this, everything else was strictly by the numbers, with director Lee Tamahori opting not to go the mindbending route but instead simply present straightforward action and thrills.
Or that was the idea, but since this was based on a Philip K. Dick story, you might have been hoping to have your mind mildly blown at least. No such luck, as this could just as easily have been an episode of a weekly TV show if the producers had injected a feature length special with a bigger budget than usual. Being a Cage adventure, romance loomed large when Cris finds that there's one person in this world who can boost his powers to massive throbbing proportions, and she's Liz Cooper (Jessica Biel), who he dreams of meeting in a diner, but is unsure of what he'd do if he actually did encounter her.
And then one day, what do you know, he does meet Liz and after running through his options (if he has access to so many futures, how does find time to know which one to go with?) he manages to appeal to her by getting thumped by her abusive boyfriend. They then go on the run together because Ferris is still tracking him (Moore in her most disinterested "show up, say the lines, get paid" mode), which is a shame for the audience in one way because that means we don't get to see much more of Peter Falk, in one of his final roles and adding a promise of more fun that actually occurred. Cris is being sought by both the Feds and the terrorists set on blowing up Los Angeles (who are French for some reason), but as events build to a head what you actually get is a big cheat, a whole run up to the climax that is hard to believe, and not in the way you expect. Then you don't even find out what really happens. Music by Mark Isham.