Bruckheimer and crew deliver another entertaining action thriller.
Denzel Washington is the kind of actor who brings credibility to every film he makes. Which is a good thing for Déjà Vu, the latest piece of action/thriller popcorn from director Tony Scott and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, because the movie relies on a time travel premise that might seem positively ridiculous in the hands of a less capable actor.
The film opens with a giant explosion (this is a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, after all) aboard a New Orleans ferry stocked primarily with military personnel. ATF agent Doug Carlin (Washington) is brought in to investigate the matter, and right from the beginning the old pro gets the feeling that something’s not right.
Though evidence is scarce, Carlin does know that the solution has something to do with a beautiful dead girl (played with aplomb by Paula Patton) who turned up close to the disaster site, but who actually died hours before the explosion. And when his long-time partner disappears while chasing a lead, the usually detached, stoic Carlin becomes emotionally involved in tracking down the bad guy.
Carlin’s investigation turns up frustratingly few leads, until an FBI agent (Val Kilmer) lets him in on a secret: the U.S. government has a device that allows them to look back in time, but only up to four days into the past.
Ok – this is the point where things could go horribly wrong. Fortunately for us, they don’t.
Tony Scott tries valiantly to make the whole idea believable, dealing with the matter early on with about five minutes of mind-numbing exposition – replete with talk of string theory, wormholes, multiple dimensions, et al. (No mention of any suped-up Delorians or killer cyborgs, however.) I won’t bother explaining the whole time-travel concept, mainly because I couldn’t really understand it myself.
Once the egghead exposition ends and the suspension of disbelief begins, Déjà Vu really hits its stride. When a McVeigh-esque suspect (Jim Caviezel, in a great performance) is fingered, Carlin has a rare chance to prevent the whole disaster before it happens. To do so, he’ll have to risk everything – including the future of the entire space-time continuum and the very fabric of our universe.
Though it’s a little long (clocking in at just over two hours), the movie moves quickly and, thanks to Scott’s slick directing, is entertaining throughout. It’s also pretty safe, politically – we know that Caviezel’s character really, really hates the government, but we don’t ever find out why.
To truly enjoy Déjà Vu, heed my advice:
Never mind the philosophical can of worms opened by the whole time travel thing.
Never mind the fact that Carlin seems much more interested in saving the dead hot chick than the 400 or so other people who perished in the explosion.
Never mind the weirdness of the Carlin’s obsession with the aforementioned dead hot chick. (It’s not necrophilia, by any means, but it is a little morbid.)
Just grab your popcorn and let Denzel do his thing.
What's on the disc:
There are a few deleted and extended scenes. The main attraction of the DVD is "The Surveillance Window", which combines a "making of" featurette with commentary from Jerry Bruckheimer and Tony Scott, integrated directly into the movie. It plays along with the film in a little window that pops up in the corner of the screen.