Review by Jack Foley
IT MAY require a major suspension of disbelief but Denzel Washington’s third film with director Tony Scott is a shamefully enjoyable time travelling thriller that keeps viewers on the edge of their seat in impressive style.
Sci-fi geeks should love working out the central gimmick, while fans of TV’s CSI and murder-mystery films will also have a ball keeping up with proceedings.
The film kicks off in explosive fashion as a New Orleans passenger ferry is bombed by an unknown terrorist.
Enter ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) investigator Doug Carlin (Washington), who attempts to sift through the clues.
When Doug becomes convinced that the key to finding the identity of the bomber lies in solving the murder of an attractive young woman named Claire, (Paula Patton), he’s recruited by a government colleague (Val Kilmer) and told of a secret time machine that allows them to see four and a half days into the past.
Doug, however, takes things one step further, believing the machine could help him physically prevent both the murder and the ferry tragedy…
As improbable as all this sounds, Deja Vu offers exciting fun for anyone willing to go with it. The film keeps you guessing and boasts another charismatic lead performance from Washington.
It also includes some amazing set pieces that fully utilise Scott’s ingenuity behind the camera, including a car chase conducted simultaneously in the past and present and the ferry explosion itself.
The last time the actor and director worked together they delivered the incendiary Man On Fire, which many found jarring (but not us!). Deja Vu is far more audience friendly, as Scott has toned down the jump-editing and flashy visuals that were becoming a trademark.
In fact, the only thing that some may find insensitive is the depiction of the bombing itself – though spectacular, some of the carnage feels voyeuristic in light of recent world headlines.
That said, if you treat it as hokum then this delivers all of the thrills and spectacle required of a Jerry Bruckheimer produced blockbuster, as well as some nice performances to match.
Washington is as reliable as ever, Jim Caviezel makes a believable villain and the likes of Kilmer and Adam Goldberg work hard to keep the techno-babble fun and viewer friendly. Paula Patton, meanwhile, provides an alluring presence as both murder victim and object of Washington’s affections and is clearly a face to watch for the future.
So, if you think you sense an element of deja vu surrounding the production team and central conceit then think again, for Scott ensures that this slick, fast-moving thriller keeps you enthralled up to and beyond the final revelation.
It’s incredibly silly but undeniably fun.
Running time: 2hrs 6mins