Time travel, car chases and Jesus, oh my!

Denzel Washington stars in "Deja Vu," a film that somehow manages to be enjoyable without ever explaining its plot.

*gasp* Jesus?! Nooooooooooooooo!!!

*** out of *****

Alright, so I have quite the substantial beef with director Tony Scott. It's nothing personal, really; it's just that ... well, he made "Domino." And "Domino" was, to put it nicely, freaking terrible. Imagine a movie where, every twenty-seconds or so, the camera flips out and zooms in at an extremely odd angle for no readily apparent reason. Combine that with a color filter the hue of a public restroom and a ridiculously confusing plot, and you've got the steaming pile of crap that was "Domino."

But in his newest flick, "Deja Vu," Scott opts for a more steady camera, a linear story (well ... sort of) and a nice, clean color filter. The result is ... well, it's surprisingly decent. That's not to say that "Deja Vu" was a great movie, because it wasn't -- but it definitely has enough going for it to warrant a rental.

Denzel Washington stars as Doug Carlin, an ATF agent who is called to the scene of a tragic ferry accident, in which over 500 innocent people are killed. The explosion is suspected to be an act of terrorism, but something just doesn't fit right ... Carlin takes a special interest in the case, and is soon approached by Agent Andrew Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), who enlists his aid in a new project. The project, essentially, provides investigators to look four and-a-half days into the past -- no more, no less. It can't be fast-forwarded, rewound or paused ... it's simply four days in the past. So, with this nifty new surveillance tool, Carlin sets out to find the culprit, and save the life of a female victim (Paula Patton).

So, the plot is far-fetched; extremely so. And the movie really doesn't dwell on a reasonable explanation of the "time machine." I wasn't really feeling the idea for a while, but after a good 45 minutes into it, I just sort of went with it. When talk of parallel universes and multiple time lines comes into play ... well, it's best to not try and figure it all out.

The action is taught and unique -- my favorite scene in the film involves Carlin chasing the killer's truck as he wears a mobile "time projector" on his head, one eye witnessing the past while the other keeps tabs on the present. Confusing at first, but smoothly executed.

I had a problem with the villain, though (who is played by Jim Caviezel). He does a well enough job ... but his motives are frustratingly thin. We never really understand why he decided to murder over 500 people, nor do delve into his past or personality. As a character, I felt he was too flimsy and underdeveloped.

But Washington is good, per usual, and it's nice to see Kilmer in a strong supporting role. All in all, "Deja Vu" is a pretty solid action thriller with some memorable moments. The plot is unique, if a little underdeveloped, and the style is slick without being overpowering. Definitely enjoyed it, and I'm glad I gave Tony Scott another chance.

1 comment:

  1. I felt like this was a really good review - not that your others aren't. Maybe it was the neutrality of it. It's not Matt's typical movie, but he liked it well enough anyways.

    Good job!

    P.S: I totally didn't even know Jim Caviezel was even in this. It was a bit of a shocker.


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