You've seen it all before

Deja Vu

on November 22, 2006 by Chad Greene
Think of the opening sequence of Deja Vu —in a nod to Denzel Washington's previous collaboration with director Tony Scott—as Seaman On Fire. U.S. Navy sailors granted shore leave just in time to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans are among the 543 victims of an act of terrorism that blows a ferry crossing the Mississippi River to smithereens, cars and casualties alike plummeting into the chop as orange flames meet blue waves.

If that opening line seems inappropriate given the gravity of the situation described, it is no more so than the reactions of ATF Agent Doug Carlin, played by Washington (who is given so little to work with here that the main reason audiences will even remember his character's name is that he keeps repeating it over and over again due to an unusual pronunciation that places the emphasis on the second syllable). While using some truly outlandish sci-fi technology to chase after the man who shot his partner, for instance, Carlin chuckles, “Wow, this is trippy,” as he drives recklessly on the wrong side of the road, leaving a trail of car accidents in his wake.

Despite its over-reliance on the admittedly novel device of a wormhole that—in what Adam Goldberg's physicist admits is a “complete fluke”—allows government agents to see exactly four days and six hours into the past, most of the time-twisting plot is stuff moviegoers have seen before.

Perhaps the best review of Deja Vu, comes from, ironically, the priest who delivers the eulogy at the funeral of Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton), the beautiful murder victim that Carlin ultimately risks his own life to travel back in time and save. It's a reading from the Biblical Book of Ecclesiastes:

“What has been will be again,
What has been done will done again;
There is nothing new under the sun.”

Deja Vu, indeed. Distributor: Buena Vista
Cast: Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer, Jim Caviezel and Adam Goldberg
Director: Tony Scott
Screenwriters: Bill Marsilii & Terry Rossio
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Genre: Sci-fi thriller
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and terror, disturbing images and some sensuality
Running time: 128 min.
Release date: November 22

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