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Deja Vu (2006)

Action & Adventure and African American Cinema movie directed by Tony Scott

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Going Back to Look Forward

  • Apr 27, 2007
  • by
DÉJÀ VU is a riveting film about time travel in tandem with crime investigation that works on every level. Tony Scott is back in his element as the top director of intrigue/thrillers. Working with a challenging script by Bill Marsilii and Terry Rossio that asks the viewer to accept the possibility of time travel, Scott is able to make the story work clearly despite the interplay of mixing the viewing of the past form the vantage of the present with placing a character into that past to alter it.

The setting is New Orleans, still suffering from the devastation of Katrina, where a ferryboat explodes killing hundreds of people. ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms) agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) is brought into the investigation of the 'accident' when he discovers elements that suggest the explosion was the act of a terrorist. Agent Pryzwarra (a very fat Val Kilmer) and his team of secretive experts (Adam Goldberg, Elden Henson, Erika Alexander and Bruce Greenwood) introduce Doug to a highly sophisticated machine that coordinates cameras and heat detectors from satellites and security cameras that is able to mix images and reveal the past - a tricky means of examining a crime scene ex post facto to capture the perpetrators. Spurred on with Doug's discovery of a beautiful female body (Paula Patton) washed up from the water before the explosion, Doug examines all the evidence, observing the replay of the days leading up to the explosion, and finally asks to be placed in a time machine to return to the scene in hopes of altering the inevitable and unmasking the terrorist (Jim Caviezel). How this occurs forms the climax of the film, and while many viewers may have trouble swallowing the time travel aspect, the action is so tight and the technique of creating the incident so convincing that few viewers will fail to be wholly involved.

The cast is excellent, beginning with Denzel Washington as a terrific lead to the work of Jim Caviezel and all the more minor roles in between. The musical score by Harry Gregson-Williams and the cinematography by DP Paul Cameron heighten the tension of this exciting suspense movie. Grady Harp, April 07

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More Deja Vu (2006) reviews
review by . October 09, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Denzel Washington is his usual excellent self in this suspenseful movie of whether or not he can change the events of the recent past. Through super-technological advances, Washington is able to view the recent past to try to determine who was responsible for blowing up a ferry.     While viewing the past, Washington begins to get very interesting in a woman that seems to be connected to the bomber. As he views her in the past, he realizes that he is able to affect what she is …
review by . May 01, 2007
This movie was incredible and quite interesting. Despite the fact that many folks seem to embrace Ridley Scott's grandiose directorial style, they often refer to younger brother Tony's work as "amateurish." I on the other hand can't help but be wowed by Tony Scott's flashy, in your face, kinetic editing style. "Déjà vu" would have been "just another thriller" had it not been for Scott's trademark touches. That being said it's Scott's style coupled with some solid performances that are the only things …
review by . April 24, 2007
'Deja Vu' is a thoughtful, edgy thriller that uses time-travel well. Starring Denzel Washington as FBI Agent Doug Carlin, we find a truly intelligent operation that uses state-of-the-art surveillance equipment to reconstruct the past. Agent Doug works with his skeptic supervisor Pyramarra (Val Kilmer) to put the pieces together for a terrorist attack on a Navy ship. Finding a night before victim, Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton), he is able to trace the crime back to its origins. In pursuit is Timothy …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #96
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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In his most effective thriller sinceEnemy of the State, Tony Scott makes time travel seem plausible. It helps that his New Orleans hero, ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington in his third go-round with the director), spends more time in the present than the past. In order to catch a terrorist, FBI Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer) invites Carlin to join forces. They have the technology to see the past. He has the expertise to interpret the data. Unfortunately, the bomb has already gone off and hundreds of ferry passengers have died. Then there's the body of a beautiful woman, Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton,Idlewild), that turns up in the vicinity of the blast. Evidence indicates she was killed beforehand. Since the FBI enables him to observe Claire prior to her murder, Carlin gets to know what she was like and finds himself falling in love. He becomes convinced that the only way to solve the case--and prove her innocence--is to travel to the past. But as Pryzwarra's colleague, Denny (Adam Goldberg), argues, "You cannot go back in time. It's physically impossible." Or so he says.Déjà Vuis constructed around a clever script and executed by a top-notch cast, notably Washington, Patton, and an eerie Jim Caviezel (miles away fromPassion of the Christ). In shedding the excesses of recent years--the sadism ofMan on Fireand weirdness of Tarantino favoriteDomino--Scott re-affirms his rep as one of the action movie's finest practitioners.--Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Director: Tony Scott
Genre: Action, African American Cinema, Adventure
Screen Writer: Bill Marsilii, Terry Rossio
DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
Runtime: 126 minutes
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Touchstone
First to Review

"Catching up with the Past"
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