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Deja Vu
Dumb Holiday Fun
Deja Vu
Denzel Washington and Val Kilmer star in the Sci-Fi/Thriller "Deja Vu".
OPENING WEEKEND: $31,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $106,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

April 19th, 2006: In the future, time-travel is a reality and an indispensable tool for law enforcement. Two FBI agents, Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) and his partner Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), travel back into the past to stop a fanatical terrorist named Oerstadt (James Caviezel) from blowing up a ferry carrying hundreds of people on board. Carlin, however, becomes distracted when he falls in love with the beautiful Claire (Paula Patton). As the day of the terrorist strike draws near, he learns that Claire is one of the passengers on the ill-fated ferry. He is determined to stop the attack and save the woman he loves in the process.

What to Expect: To begin with, I have to admit that I am not a very big fan of Tony Scott’s testosterone-crammed action films. His directorial credits include many overblown thrillers, like Top Gun, Days of Thunder, The Fan, Spy Game, and the recent Domino. Scott’s smoke filled sets, extreme close-ups, and erratic camera movements are designed to punctuate the on-screen action, but feel like distracting camouflage instead. Even True Romance, which is frequently hailed as his best work, felt like a disappointing treatment of what was essentially a terrific Quentin Tarantino script. However, I will always be a supporter of Scott’s movie Crimson Tide. For once, his exaggerated style perfectly complemented the mounting tension between the two main characters played almost perfectly by Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. It was another pretentiously embellished story, with an ending that was inevitable, but it required some thought and effort on the part of the viewer and the overall execution felt right on the money. So while I may be critical of most of his films, I am perfectly aware that Scott is capable of making an enjoyable thriller.

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I’m not even going to count how many times Washington has been cast as a cop or a special agent, but, without doing any research, I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s a record. He rolls right from the Inside Man movie set, where he played a hostage negotiator, to the Deja Vu set, where he plays an agent trying to prevent a hostage situation from ever taking place. Since he’s able to pull off such roles with conviction and ease, who can blame him. James Caviezel makes a tricky transition from portraying Jesus to portraying a terrorist. That’s a man who has the courage to take on challenging and controversial characters. He certainly has the right intensity and a mysterious enough persona to play a sinister role effectively. I’m not quite sure what Val Kilmer is doing in this movie. To me, he seems to clash with Washington’s character and I feel like there isn’t any room for his agent Pryzwarra in the story. Adam Goldberg will ease into the role of Denny, the civilian scientist who assists agent Carlin. The only reason I bring his character up is because he will aide the film during the slower moments with some unnecessary comedy relief. Goldberg will have the unspectacular task of playing the stereotypical, bumbling egghead, which is never a good sign for any movie that wants to maintain an aura of seriousness.

Deja Vu marks the sixth collaboration between mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott, which is not quite as bad as the Jerry Bruckheimer-Michael Bay partnership, but a close second. Together, they’re responsible for the clichéd and bombastic Days of Thunder and Top Gun, as well as the respectable Enemy of the State and the engaging Crimson Tide. Needless to say, Deja Vu will probably belong in the same class of overly dramatized big-budget thrillers, complete with flashy cinematography and a loud gratuitous score. In terms of plot, the entire time-travel genre has been done to death by now. The synopsis doesn’t even impress or surprise me when I re-read it. Time-travel has become second nature in films and it doesn’t strike me as anything innovative or unusual anymore. By throwing in a romantic subplot, the filmmakers appear to be closely following fundamental rules of Screenplay Writing 101. Scott has little experience with love stories and I would be worried that Deja Vu may seem awkward and perhaps even laughable as a result. However, I cannot deny the feeling that there is a guilty pleasure buried beneath all the bad ideas. Despite all of its formulaic qualities, Scott could pull off something that will feel remotely entertaining.

In Conclusion: The project was set to begin shooting in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina, but was almost cancelled entirely due to the devastating nature of the storm. Following some deliberations, the filmmakers decided to return to Louisiana to finish the movie. I’m not sure whether we should thank them for that decision or not. Regardless, in November, audiences will be treated to another pompous offering from the Bruckheimer-Scott camp. The film’s unoriginal premise seems to suggest that the title Deja Vu is actually quite appropriate. If you enjoy Scott’s showy but relatively empty style as framework for the typically banal stories, than this film may be for you. Admittedly, I have found some pleasure in a few of his better entries in the past and although all of the film’s elements seem clichéd, they combine into a silly little premise that may just prove to contain some fun.

Similar Titles: Spy Game, Enemy of the State, Demolition Man, Virtuosity, Timecop
November 22nd, 2006 (wide)
April 24th, 2007 (DVD)

Walt Disney Pictures

Tony Scott

Denzel Washington, Jim Caviezel, Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Adam Goldberg, Bruce Greenwood

Total: 56 vote(s).

Action & Adventure, Romance, Science Fiction

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and terror, disturbing images and some sensuality.

128 min





Deja Vu at AskMen.com

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