Deja Vu


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Deja Vu
"The incomparable Denzel Washington gives another of his thoughtful, sensitive performances that carries a surplus of the dignity gene."

It warms the cockles that Tony Scott decided to make this film in New Orleans, post Katrina, as a tribute to the spirit of the people. Even if it sounds like marketing spin and PR hype, it feels genuine. Déjà Vu - how will they translate this in Omaha? - avoids Scott's trademark kaleidoscopic editing style and stays focused on a plotline, vaguely reminiscent of Minority Report. Also, the incomparable Denzel Washington gives another of his thoughtful, sensitive performances that carries a surplus of the dignity gene.

He plays Doug Carlin, an ATF special agent (for idiots like myself, who can just about understand what CIA stands for, this is a baffler. I may be wrong, but I thought someone mentioned Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, which means he works for Customs & Excise - maybe), who becomes involved in the aftermath of a ferry-boat disaster, when a car bomb claims over 500 lives, including Doug's partner (Matt Craven).

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The FBI, headed by Agent Pryzwarra (a supersizeme Val Kilmer), takes over the investigation and brings Carlin on board, because he's local and knows his way around. As Pryzwarra's team collates evidence, while bodies are still being fished out of the river, Doug concentrates on one of them, a beautiful young Creole woman, called Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton), who looks like Whitney Houston. She has burn marks on her body and a vicious wound on her neck and three fingers missing on her right hand. There are clues of a different kind, indicating that she was murdered and then dumped in the water to simulate a ferry victim.

So far, so CSI. Through the magic of databasing, computer matching, electronic whizbangery and methods of detection that would blow Sherlock Holmes' mind, Claire's car is connected to the bomber (Jim Caviezel), who turns out to be a Timothy McVeigh reactionary patriot, with issues against the armed services. In addition to the kind of equipment Gil Grissom takes for granted, IT specialists at the Bureau, with the help of a sophisticated array of satellite cameras, have invented a machine that enables them to pinpoint individuals four days in the past anywhere in the city. Using this device, they watch Claire before she is killed.

If that leaves credulity in no man's land, the next leap into science fiction is beyond what-if. Doug persuades one of the FBI team (Adam Goldberg) to teleport him back four days, so that he can change the course of history and save Claire's life. This has never been attempted before with a human being. He might die. The chances are, he WILL die. Doug insists.

What happens next is like playing God on steroids, as well as heart-stoppingly exciting. Scott hasn't been this good since Enemy Of The State. If the ending cops out in typical Hollywood fashion, he deserves a modicum of forgiveness. The arrival may be flawed, but the journey is never short of thrilling.

Reviewed on: 07 Dec 2006
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Deja Vu packshot
A detective in New Orleans goes back in time to solve a mystery and save lives.
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Read more Deja Vu reviews:

Stephen Carty ***
Chris **1/2

Director: Tony Scott

Writer: Bill Marsilii, Terry Rossio

Starring: Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, James Caviezel, Adam Goldberg, Elden Henson, Erika Alexander, Bruce Greenwood, Rich Hutchman, Enrique Castillo, Donna Scott, Elle Fanning

Year: 2006

Runtime: 128 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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