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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Déjà Vu

Starring: Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Adam Goldberg

Déjà Vu
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Synopsis: Everyone has experienced the unsettling mystery of déjà vu--that flash of memory when you meet someone new you feel you've known all your life or recognize a place even though you've never been there before. But what if the feelings were actually warnings sent from the past or clues to the future? It is déjà vu that unexpectedly guides ATF agent Doug Carlin through an investigation into a shattering crime. Called in to recover evidence after a bomb sets off a cataclysmic explosion on a New Orleans Ferry, Carlin is about to discover that what most people believe "is only in their heads" is actually something far more powerful--and will lead him on a mind-bending race to save hundreds of innocent people.

Review: It’s Déjà Vu as Denzel Washington has a bit of a reunion teaming back up with Man On Fire director, Tony Scott (Elle Fanning, the sister of Washington’s Man On Fire co-star Dakota Fanning is briefly in this new film). Déjà Vu is an almost intelligent sci-fi whodunit. It’s smartly written all the way up until the Hollywood ending.

ATF agent Doug Carlin (Washington) is investigating the terrorist explosion of a ferry in New Orleans that kills over 500 people, mainly military men and their families. During the course of his investigation alongside the FBI’s Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), Carlin is notified of a body that would initially appear as a victim of the explosion but he discovers that she was found washed up on the banks of the Mississippi before the explosion. The victim is Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton) and Carlin is sure that if he finds her killer he’ll find the bomber (James Caviezel).

Pryzwarra brings Carlin secretly into the fold as he takes him to a device that looks a lot like a superconductor. Inside the device he finds a small group of scientists headed by Denny (Adam Goldberg). They have a very high end multimedia system that lets them use satellites to recreate a full 3-D rendering of events that happened about 4 days prior to their present time...or at least that’s the story they feed him. They are trying to use the device to track down and locate the bomber by looking into the past so they can find him in the present.

Carlin eventually learns the truth behind the device and starts poking holes in the theories of the whiz kids. It boils down to the fact that the machine is a predecessor to a transporter on Star Trek combined with an H.G. Wells novel. I’ll let you figure it out from there. Carlin decides that not only is he going to find the killer, but he’s going to turn himself into a guinea pig to prevent the events from ever occurring.

The beginning of Déja Vu made me worry at first because a lot of footage was being shot in a slow motion type of way, including Washington’s first screen appearance. Of course there’s the explosion, but what would a film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer be without explosions, car chases and shots fired? Overall, the acting and directing is well done. Washington, although a serious agent, takes everything in stride and cracks a joke and a smile here and there. Sometimes he seems to take things too casually as he walks instead of runs to get from Point A to Point B.

Val Kilmer doesn’t really have much to do in this film except to look fat. Caviezel is dead on as a psychotic with a cause. Oddly enough he seems to believe that it has something to do with the divine and you can’t help but looks at him as Jesus. Patton, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer who has talent and looks. Although she’s married into the entertainment business, she’s got a good career ahead of her.

The high-tech gadgets and special effects in this film are awesome. The action is exciting and the drama can be suspenseful. There are some scenes that are rather vivid of people being killed, so it’s not a film for everyone and definitely not for children. It was actually shot in and around New Orleans giving some authenticity as well as showing some of the damage that hurricane Katrina did and how the city has revived.

That being said, the plot is a bit obvious 15 minutes into the film. From the moment that Carlin enters Claire’s house and we see a message on the refrigerator it seems rather transparent as to what Carlin will eventually end up doing. It’s only driven home when another agent calls him and mentions that his fingerprints are all over the house. Plus. if you’re familiar with a conductor, it also seems obvious that these guys are playing with a lot of energy and doing more than looking at a satellite image and dealing more with a particle accelerator.

Still, I don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with the ending. The movie seemed to be well-written (Bill Marsilii & Terry Rossio) until the last scene. I won’t give it away, but by the laws laid out within the film, I don’t see how the ending would be possible.

*Review by Nahteboy, PopSyndicate


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