Next, the film starring Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Biel, is based on a short story by award-winning science fiction author Philip K. Dick. The short story, “The Golden Man,” was originally written back in 1954. The movie was just released early in 2007.
Precious little has been left of the original short story. The main plot, the fact that Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage) has the uncanny ability of seeing into his future two whole minutes. In the short story, Cris was a mutant. As the result of his upbringing, the Cris in the short story turned feral and wouldn’t let anyone else near him. The government pursued him to destroy him because all mutants were feared.
Nicolas Cage’s version of Cris Johnson portrays a small-time stage magician of humble means. Cris is a stage magician in Las Vegas under the name Frank Cadillac (which is a combination of two of his favorite things, Frankenstein and Cadillacs) and plays to a modest audience every night. To supplement his income, Cris hits the casinos. Since he shares the same power as the protagonist of the short story in being able to see two minutes into the future, he knows what the cards are going to be while playing blackjack. He doesn’t win big, but he wins consistently enough to support himself – and to occasionally invoke the ire of the casino security people.
Special Agent Callie Ferris of the FBI (Julianne Moore) has been keeping an eye on Cris’s career. She’s become convinced that he’s a precog (having the ability of pre-recognition to see into the future) and has studied him.
While in the casino, Cris knows he’s alerted the security team and they’re coming to shut him down. On his way out, he runs across a man who’s planning to rob the casino. If Cris allows events to run their course, two innocent people will be killed. He takes the guy out, then the movie moves into a blistering tour de force of what it might be like to pursue a man who can see two minutes into the future.
These scenes are amazing and comical. While the casino guys pursue Cris, he walks between them, around them, and behind them. He takes time to smoke a cigarette, ducks down to pick up a coin at an appropriate time to keep from being identified and in general makes all of them look like they’re standing still. This sequence is definitely one of the better pieces in the film.