50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-worth the time and money
This was actually a film I was reluctant to see, mostly because I knew it had to do, in some part, with time traveling. Which is extremely difficult to pull off consistently and realistically, and most people fail when they try. In this movie, they didn't fail. They managed to make all the pieces fit together, and they made a very fun (albeit far fetched) enjoyable movie...
Published on January 8, 2007 by R. Petruzzi
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad Science, Good filmmaking
This film is nearly three years old but still drawing considerable comment. That should tell you something. For all its flaws, this movie is an enjoyable, fast moving action thriller that's worth the viewing.
The "science" itself relies on a science fiction cliche which doesn't hold up in reality. If you know the real science behind wormholes, the plot device...
Published on January 10, 2010 by Popcorn Granny
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-worth the time and money,
This was actually a film I was reluctant to see, mostly because I knew it had to do, in some part, with time traveling. Which is extremely difficult to pull off consistently and realistically, and most people fail when they try. In this movie, they didn't fail. They managed to make all the pieces fit together, and they made a very fun (albeit far fetched) enjoyable movie to watch.
Add to that the superb acting of everyone in this movie (Denzel Washington plays his role to a T) and it's one of the most solid movies I've seen in awhile. It's not *special* enough to be Oscar quality, but its a movie you can enjoy watching again and again without getting bored or tired of it. And that's worth a lot, in my opinion. :)
80 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting THE Science Fiction Right,
Déjà Vu is the perfect blend of science fiction and action film for the average movie watcher as well as the science fiction fan. At its core, it is a thrilling, well paced action adventure story about an ATF agent, Doug Carlin, investigating a terrorist bombing on a ferry full of US Navy sailors in New Orleans. 540 people are killed in the massive explosion, but one young woman's body washes up and doesn't seem to fit with the other victims; though it looks like a victim of the explosion, the body was discovered 8 minutes before the bomb went off. Other pieces of evidence regarding this victim quickly lead Carlin to roughly piece together where she fits in the puzzle; unfortunately, none of it is enough to provide leads to the perpetrator.
When Carlin presents his information to the FBI agents in charge, they are quickly impressed by his keen ability to size up a crime scene and filter out the noise from the pertinent details. They invite him to join a new test project that uses the latest technology to analyze a crime scene. Though the FBI and scientists involved try to hide the true nature of the technology, it doesn't take agent Carlin long to realize that there is more to it than advanced surveillance camera processing. This is where the science fiction weaves itself into the crime action drama film. While testing a new high-powered telescope technology, a way to bend the fabric of space/time is discovered, allowing the ability to watch the past in "real time" exactly 4+ days before.
What makes this film work so well is that the action mostly takes place in the present, but the technology leads to some very good storytelling and the most interesting car chase ever conceived. I had read in some positive reviews that as good as it was it didn't fully make sense...well they are wrong - it complete sense - just pay attention to the details along the way and the story comes together nicely. Yes, there are a few inconsistencies - whose explanations probably were left on the cutting room floor to keep the film well paced - but they are small. If you have a basic understanding of the physics and space/time you can piece them together yourselves; if you are not, don't worry and ignore them because they don't take away from this very film.
29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story That's A Little Farfetched Still Puts On Display Tony Scott's Sharp Skills & Denzel Washington's Great Acting,
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MOVIE: Tony Scott is one of my favorite directors and it's too bad he has had some ups and downs recently. I was really looking forward to Deja Vu after I saw the travesty that was Domino. Then Ridley's movie came out and flopped hard. So I was in the mood for a good Scott film, thankfully Deja Vu is a sharp thriller that bleeds Tony Scott's ultra visual style. The plot is a bit over the top, but it's not so preposterous that you won't be able to enjoy the film. Essentially a terrorist blows up a ferry filled with navy soldiers on leave in New Orleans. ATF Agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) is assigned with the case of solving the crime and motive for destroying the ferry. An agent played by Val Kilmer offers Carlin the opportunity to solve the case by using a technology that is able to see any event 4 days in the past, a wormhole if you will. Carlin tries to map out the terrorist's location by studying a young woman's accidental involvement. The terrorists is played superbly by Jim Caviezal and the young woman is played by Paula Patton. Doug Carlin decides to use the machine to throw himself back in time to prevent the act thus saving the lives of hundreds of people. If you can suspend your belief for 2 hours then this film is simply great action entertainment.
The script was written by first time screenwriter Bill Marsilii and Terry Rossio who has gained fame for co-writing the Pirates Of The Caribbean films. Tony Scott made this film his own and kept things really tight and focused. The scenes where the group of people are searching back in time to focus on certain locations for clues reminds me of the camera work that Scott used in Enemy Of The State. Scott's last two films (3 including Beat The Devil) relied heavily on his highly stylized exposures and quick paced editing. Man On Fire used this style to perfection while Domino was just a way for him to show it off some more. Deja Vu does have that same style but there is so much less of it, very similar to the way Spy Game was shot. He uses lots of close-ups, which make the movie really tense because we are always staring right into the eyes of the characters. Every time Tony Scott works with Denzel Washington it seems like a winner. Crimson Tide and Man On Fire were two extremely extraordinary action films. We also have Jerry Bruckheimer producing, which is great because he has such a great history with both Tony Scott and Ridley Scott.
One thing that I always look forward to when I see a Tony Scott film is the score by Harry Gregson-Williams. Harry Gregson-Williams is #2 favorite composer behind Hans Zimmer, and his electronic style matches Tony Scott's vision so perfectly. Tony Scott originally worked with Hans Zimmer and Zimmer scored Days Of Thunder, Crimson Tide, The Fan, and True Romance for Tony Scott. I guess Ridley Scott decided that he wanted Hans all to himself, so Harry Gregson-Williams was assigned the job of co-composer for Enemy Of The State and the two have worked together ever since. If you recall Spy Game's score and Man On Fire's score you could probably place your finger right in the middle of those two and sort of get a feel for the score for Deja Vu. Harry Gregson-Williams didn't go balls out like he did with Domino, but resorts to the piano and the occasional single trumpet to create tension. Strings back up the electronic parts of the score that has Harry Gregson-Williams written all over it. An interesting thing to note was that he used a unique technique of having the orchestra play the music in reverse and then forwarding it in the computer so as to create a unique feel for the central theme of Deja Vu. From what I can tell he only did that on the first cue during the opening credits where we see the logos. A terrific score that really enhances the film greatly.
ACTING: When you have Denzel Washington as your lead actor it rarely means a bad movie. As I mentioned before, Denzel Washington has collaborated with Tony Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer many times before. You can sense that everyone feels like they are in their element because the cast and crew are close. Another tidbit worth mentioning is that there is one scene where we see the young woman played by Paula Patton babysitting a little girl. That girl is Elle Fanning, sister of Dakota Fanning who played Pita in Scott's Man On Fire. Anyway, back to Denzel, he creates a great character here. Jim Caviezal was actually incredibly good as the terrorist. The only downside to that role is that the guy is just mentally unstable and that's why he does everything that he does, which is not very original when it comes to bad guys these days. Paula Patton plays Claire and while she doesn't really craft a character in this film she does provide support for Denzel Washington's character. Val Kilmer enters in his middle-aged scruffy mode and isn't the main focus of the supporting cast, but his presence is nice and he adds some credibility to the cast.
BOTTOM LINE: Deja Vu may be a little farfetched, but I really liked it as a sharp and smart piece of action entertainment. It was tense and kept me involved all the way through. There were no slow pockets in the film whatsoever. The fact that the bad guy is just a man with psychological problems makes the movie a little unoriginal, but Deja Vu will entertain you and is worth the price of admission.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Need Her To Matter To You" ~ We Can't Change The Past, Or Can We?,
`Déjà vu' released in '05 stars some of my favorite male stars active today; Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer and James Caviezel. Add to the roster the talented Adam Goldberg and the devastatingly attractive Paula Patton and you've got all the ingredients necessary to provide a truly great viewing experience. Unfortunately even with a cast of this caliber the film doesn't quite deliver all the potential it could have.
Time travel movies are always popular but could be a little tricky at times. I think the script handles the scientific explanation of time travel and warping space surprisingly well but some sequences are a little too unrealistic and you can ask an audience to suspend reality for only so long. I also found the ending to make no sense whatsoever so that definitely is a minus. On the positive side, the romantic angle works wonderfully and Denzel Washington's love interest Paula Patton is drop dead gorgeous. `Déjà vu' combines the futuristic vision of `Minority Report' (`02) with the romantic longing of the '44 classic `Laura'. Not too bad a combination don't you think?
Repeatability Factor: Well worth at least one viewing but that's about it unless you're watching just to see Paula again.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Déjà Vu: a Good and Entertaining Thriller,
Movies where time plays a huge role and people are trying to change the future or the past has always brought interesting movies. We have the Back to the Future films, the Time Machine and many more. Now, a new acquisition to this genre has been created. An entertaining thriller by director Tony Scott starring Denzel Washington: Déjà Vu.
The story in short without any spoilers:
A ferry explodes in New Orleans and there are over 500 casualties. ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) wants to investigate this chase till the bottom and gets the help of Agent Andrew Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer). Pryzwarra and his team have a special methode of solving crimes. They have the technology to look 4 days in the past. With this methode, Carlin has a chance to change the past.
The story feels a bit farfetched sometimes but is well worked out and leaves an entertaining and thrilling impression. The performances by the actors are great and Denzel Washington definitely steals the show. He was a great choice for the leading role. The story takes the characters from good dramatic scenes to thrilling action sequences. Trust me, following someone over a busy highway who is 4 days in the past is absolutely spectacular.
The film is well balanced and leaves you with a satisfying feeling inside.
The atmosphere is also something that helps the film, which is mostly created by the colourwork. Green and dark colours give the film a serious and thrilling look. Another thing is the music, composed in a certain style that gives the film it's special feeling and sound.
So Déjà Vu has become a good and entertaining thriller with fine acting performances and a fantastic story that gives you a fun time at the movies. Recommended to action and thriller fans.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love means having to travel through time to save the stranger you love,
I think I will always remember watching "Deja Vu" as the moment when I realized that I was old. Not "old" in the physical sense where I prefer to be asleep instead of awake or try to find a way to avoid walking up stairs, but "old" in the psychological sense where as you encounter others in the world around you the question that is always on your mind and threatening to come flying out of your lips is "What the hell is wrong with these people?" I say that because for most of the first act of this 2006 film that was pretty much all I was thinking. The film is set in New Orleans, where there is an additional insult added to injury for a city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina when a massive explosion destroys a ferry, killing more than 500 people. We have all seen footage of police, firefighters and other first responders dealing with the aftermath of 9/11, and they were uniformly grim, angry, and determined. But Denzel Washington's ATF agent Doug Carlin and the other main characters are cracking way too many jokes. After all, the Big Easy is Carlin's home turf, so this has got to hurt, even before the investigation becomes decidedly personal. I understand that his humor may be a way of dealing with the intrusion of the FBI and others who ineptitude is always bubbling dangerous close to the surface, but director Tony Scott makes it really clear that a lot of children ended up dead on the Ferry. Every time Adam Goldberg's character cracks wise, and he has some funny lines, inside my mind I am screaming, "What the hell is wrong with you? Dakota Fanning's little sister is dead! Wipe that smile off of your face!"
The good news is that "Deja Vu" digs itself out of this hole, which is pretty impressive when you consider it had one foot in the grave with me from early on. If you have seen the trailer for "Deja Vu" then you will not be surprised that they do a similar trick during the opening credits, but beyond that point the title is something of a misnomer. There are a few points where Carlin might be experiencing deja vu, but once he understands the big toy the special FBI squad led by Agent Andrew Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), any feelings of having been there before are replaced by the obsession to change the past and save all of those people. Despite the deaths of hundreds of people, for Carlin the focal point become Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton), whose dead and burned body shows up on shore BEFORE the ferry exploded. One of the things this movie does well is establish Carlin's abilities as an investigator. Working as much by abduction as deduction and induction, Carlin knows that it was Claire's SUV that the bomber used. He tells those in charge that if they solve her murder, they will find the bomber.
Pryzwarra offers Carlin the opportunity to do that via what is initially described as satellite surveillance tape that was shot three days and six hours earlier. But it does not take our hero long to figure out that satellite surveillance is not going to be able to allow him to watch Claire taking a shower when she was alive three days ago. Then it all comes down to finding out what is possible and trying to change the past. At this point how much you like "Deja Vu" is going to come down to whether you are a science geek, in which case the scientific explanation for time travel and its attendant paradoxes provided by the film will probably drive you to distraction, or whether you are an incurable romantic, who likes the idea of love transcending death as Carlin tries to find a way to save Claire and everybody else. For the former what matters is the method and the ability to willingly suspend belief, while for the latter it all comes down to the payoff of the film's end game, although I would add that also coming into play is how well the payoff is set up in terms of the time loops. Wrapping your mind around how what has not happened has already happened is part of the fun here, whatever problems you might have with the theory and practice of looking into the past as developed in the film.
Bill Marsill, who co-wrote the screenplay with Terry Rossio ("Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl"), shows up for the commentary track on the DVD and comes right out and tells us that "Deja Vu" is not so much a science fiction film as it is a love story: just one in which the first time the hero sees the girl it is at her autopsy. I certainly agree because I kept thinking of the film "Laura" a lot more than I did anything like "Back to the Future." I suppose "Somewhere in Time" is more in the ballpark as a cinematic reference point, but there is obviously a big difference in the method of time traveling between the two films (duh). But that film would be the prime example of how a love story can overcome the limitations of realistic time travel. I would not say that the payoff for "Deja Vu" is great, but it is pretty good given the specifics of the situation that it has set up. Let me put it this way: when the credits started to roll I was not thinking, "What the hell is wrong with these people?"
I was almost going to round up on this film despite the fact that I was willing to bury it early on because I really like Claire's involvement in the end game and the way the characters keep the focus on what is really important here. Obviously, this is a film that you want to watch twice, so that you can better appreciate how all of the myriad payoffs are set up earlier in the film. Final Note: In addition to deleted scenes and extended scenes, the main extra on the DVD is the Surveillance Track, which has Scott, Marsill, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer providing commentary during a "seamless behind the scenes experience" that cuts away from the film and back again to provide interviews and featurettes. Not having to find the remote and push enter time and time again to see everything was a nice touch.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suprisingly Good Movie!,
I'm a very big fan of Denzel Washington, who caused me to really appreciate his work and amazing presence watching "Glory and Training Day". Unfortunately over the last 2-3 years, he really hasn't come out with anything I'd call worth more than a trip to the $1.00 rental store. This movie really kept my interest and though some parts were rather cheesy, I actually found myself wanting more towards the end. Though certainly not his very best work, it's for sure a sturdy bridge to his eventual mega hit in the near future (let's hope). Check it out, I think you'll really like it.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well Made Mind-Blowing Thriller,
Deja Vu is a gripping and smart thriller about a Federal agent (Denzel Washington) who's investigating a ferry explosion. He's also investigating the murder of a woman who's death was staged to make it look like she was on the ferry. After showing his skills in finding evidence. He's taken to a top secret lab that has technology so advanced that they can investigate what led to the ferry explosion and who might've done it. Washington figures out that the equiptment isn't all that it seems. It actually can see into the past and might even be able to be used for time travel. He doesn't want to only use the technology to catch the killer but to stop the ferry explosion and to save the woman.
The movie is fascinating through-out with a really good cast too. Denzel Washington is good as always and I love the supporting cast too. Val Kilmer is pretty good in a small part as an agent who brings Washington in on the secret project. It's funny how he trys to lie about the technology not being as advanced as Washington is starting to believe it is. Jim Caviezel is pretty chilling as the villian as well. Such a talented actor shouldn't be type-casted as a villian though. I mean come on this guy was Jesus after all lol.
Anyway DEJAVU isn't only a good action thriller but it surprisingly works as a science fiction film as well. Plus the breakthrough technolgy time travel stuff is actually done in such a smart way that it almost convinced me that this kind of stuff exists. Even if I didn't entirely understand all the mumbo jumbo that was being said. The movie can be a little mind-blowing too. I'm still trying to figure out how everything is gonna work-out for Washington's character at the end. Still I can't say it's not a satisfying ending either.
I really liked this movie and think it was Tony Scott's best work in awhile. A lot of his movies have a little too much camera movements that distract away from the story and actors. He's more restrained here and just sits back and lets us get into the story more.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More fun if you watch it without reading all about it,
I enjoyed Deja Vu quite a bit. I really did not know anything about it beforehand, except for the title and that Denzel Washinton was in it. Now I am glad that I got to find out everything as the story unfolded on the screen, naive to the time concept central to the plot. Anyway, that is how Doug Carlin (Denzel's character) would have experienced it (ironically, though), so it was easier for me to put myself in his place--to discover evidence with him, to be surprised by the same events that he was, etc.
Therefore, I won't tell you very much about it, except that I was pleasantly surprised. The opening scenes have some compelling shots that draw you into the story, and it isn't complicated to follow, but, at the same time, it is a smart film, in it's own way. No one really completely understands about the "true" science of this anyway, so it is interesting to explore "what ifs". I saw at least one angle on the topic that was new to me.
I also liked how Agent Carlin fell in love before he "met" Claire and how he seemed to be compelled to save her at great risk to himself, as if he somehow knew that she belonged with him.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From the director and star of Man On Fire,
Saw it yersterday...Loved it!!!
Denzel Washington and Tony Scott team up once more for non-stop action a plenty, with Jim Cavaziel supporting in the bad guy role, played superbly I must add. A few other faces you may recognise and others you will not, such as Paula Patton, who plays the leading lady and love interest, which gets a little complicated as she is dead for over half the movie.
If you're a fan on Tony Scott's work and a fan of Denzel's, don't hesitate in seeing this, you will like it. It is a little predictable, but at the same time does explore new territory.
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Deja Vu [Blu-ray] by Tony Scott (Blu-ray - 2007)