After a bomb explodes on a New Orleans ferry with devastating consequences, FTA Agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) is asked by FBI Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer) to assist them to investigate and recover evidence. During his investigation, he discovers that a beautiful young woman, Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton), found dead in the water, had been killed prior to the explosion. Carlin is assigned to a new unit that uses secret, advanced technology enabling multi-angle surveillance by satellites, but can only be decoded and compiled with a four day delay. But this technology turns out to be something other than surveillance. Carlin believes that by viewing footage of Claire, they could discover the identity of the terrorist responsible for detonating the bomb.
Review by Louise Keller:
Blending elements of satellite surveillance and time travel portals to the limit, Déjà vu is a ripper of a thriller, taking us on a complex journey, spinning a yarn that makes the impossible seem feasible. Denzel Washington is charismatic as the FTA Agent who, for once in his life, wants to catch someone before the crime has been committed. It's a stimulating premise that uses known technology with creative advanced concepts, and director Tony Scott (Man on Fire, Spy Game) creates a reality that keeps our focus and commitment.
When asked to assist the FBI in their investigation into the bomb blast on the ferry that resulted in over 500 deaths, Carlin (Washington) immediately starts to look for clues from anything that doesn't belong. Carlin is a loner and believes in the inevitability of loss. Hence it is ironic that he falls in love with the woman whose life he is observing after her death. He quickly feels as though he is getting to know Claire (Paula Patton), as he watches her in her home through the sophisticated surveillance facility. It feels voyeuristic, watching her at any angle, as she feeds her cat, talks on the phone, takes a shower. Thermal imaging, worm holes, bridges and time windows are suddenly part of Carlin's reality, and issues of destiny, fate and spirituality are canvassed.
The storyline takes wild leaps and most of the time we eagerly jump with it. There was one moment, however, when I wondered whether the projectionist had missed a reel, so great was the leap required. Washington carries the film with style, ably supported by Val Kilmer as the FBI agent and Jim Caviezel as the bomber suspect. Patton, seen recently in Hitch, is bewitching as Claire, and we can understand the connection that Carlin feels, despite the fact he is only watching her on a screen. There's a hair raising drive across the bridge when our eyes tell us what our logic refutes and tension builds solidly to a tense, breathtaking climax. The ending may deter some, although for me it adds an extra element for thought provoking reanalysis. It may not make total sense, but Déjà vu is a highly enjoyable, superbly made thriller. Like me, you may want to see it again.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Déjà vu has a terrific cast to lend credibility to a cleverly conceived screenplay that dares to play with a touch of time travel within the action genre - and largely succeeds on its own terms by the way the material is handled. Hardy but not too gritty, the film plays as both a police procedural and a technology puzzle, but director Tony Scott keeps the focus on characters and plot.
Denzel Washington serves Scott well as the intelligent and thorough professional whose dedication to duty is a humanistic drive. Paula Patton is a warm and likeable Claire whose fate matters to us, while Adam Goldberg, Val Kilmer and Bruce Greenwood provide strong support as agents working in a hi-tech lab within the FBI. Excellent production values, great stunts and an intriguing scenario pull us in and keep us engaged throughout.
The screenplay doesn't insult our intelligence but challenges our rationality, which good action films intended to entertain are entitled to do. The brand is Jerry Bruckheimer - you won't go wanting if that's the goods you want.
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JIM CAVIEZEL INTERVIEW
DÉJÀ VU (M)
CAST: Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer, James Caviezel, Adam Goldberg, Bruce Greenwood,
PRODUCER: Jerry Bruckheimer
DIRECTOR: Tony Scott
SCRIPT: Tony Scott, Bill Marsilii
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Paul Cameron
EDITOR: Chris Lebenzon
MUSIC: Harry Gregson-Williams
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Chris Seagers
RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 18, 2007