Review: [In Memory of Tony Scott 1944-2012] DEJA VU (2006) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Review: [In Memory of Tony Scott 1944-2012] DEJA VU (2006)


Check this out: A joyful Mardi Gras on a Canal Street ferry boat off the New Orleans harbor ends in a shocking tragedy for the Navy men and women and their families when a bomb is exploded just beneath the Crescent City bridge, causing a high toll of five hundred fatalities. The first to arrive is ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) is assigned to investigate the suspected ferry bombing but find no concrete leads until the body of a young woman, Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton) is found washes shore nearby. What could have been a direct assumption that she has to be one of the blast victim is later reconfirmed through forensic details, suggested that she died before the ferry explosion, especially with her fingers cut off and duct tape residue around her mouth. Carlin proceeds to investigate further about Claire's mysterious death, starting with her apartment in which he discovered plenty of evidence lying everywhere - a waste basket filled with blood-soaked bandages, a handgun, and an enigmatic message in magnetic fridge letters reading "u can save her."

But none is more shocking than a phone message from Carlin himself. Fact is, he didn't know Claire, but apparently she called him at work earlier that day. Enter a FBI unit headed by Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), who is recruited Carlin for an interdepartmental task force, simply because he's a local and excels at quick, penetrating crime-scene analysis.

And there's more: Pryzwarra let Carlin to witness the top-secret government surveillance program that has a state-of-the-art technology capable to capture multiple streaming satellite images in minute detail imaginable, even through walls and floors. Several catch is that they're always 54 hours behind the present time, and any chance of viewing footage via fast-forwarding or rewinding is strictly out of the question, where it could only be viewed once.

As days goes by, Doug spends all his time following every step of the ill-fated Claire doing her routine during her final days alive, while determined to look any possible clue linking to her mysterious death as well as the ferry explosion.

For one thing, DEJA VU is a fascinating high-concept genre mix-up that is nevertheless very cool to watch for. But on the other side, it's also overly preposterous and requires a strong deal of suspension of disbelief. Anyone trying to crack their head about the scientific mumbo-jumbo and quantum physics surrounded on how a satellite-equipped surveillance program able to work as a time-travel machine, will be disappointed because logic is frankly thrown out of the window.

Still the movie works wonder by playing it straight and everything is ensure that it's all meant for entertainment purpose. The pace is fast and rarely flags (except in the mid-section where Carlin and the rest of the team spend an awful lot of time focusing on the daily activities of Claire in the gigantic monitor), while Bill Marsilii and Terry Rosario's screenplay peppered with just enough fun imaginable as they had a field day toying with the time-travel subgenre premise and come up more absorbing than one might thinks.

Best of all, this is a great comeback for director Tony Scott, who is lately venturing into a string of failed experimental filmmaking move he did furiously in MAN ON FIRE (2004) and DOMINO (2005). But he's finally find his right rhythm to continue his fancy visual flourishes in a more suitable approach for this kind of trippy premise. His direction is taut and stylish, while pedalling his movie right into a suspense-laden climax it's almost breathless. The most memorable highlight of the movie is of course, the multiple-collision car chase, in which Carlin, driving frantically in a present daylight and watching a portable time monitor via a state-of-the-art goggle to pursue the suspect's van which is ripping along ahead of him at an earlier time during the night.

Denzel Washington is another revelation: his character is strong and committed enough that viewers are willing to go wherever he takes them far and beyond. Rising actress Paula Patton is vibrant and sympathetic as the down-to-earth Claire, though earlier on, her character is merely focused on a series of gratuitous shot of watching her wearing sexy undergarments and exposing cleavage but she is gradually grow into someone we really care for. The rest of the actors, including Val Kilmer and Jim Caviezel are credible, though there's nothing much to shout about, while Adam Goldberg is perfectly typecast as the super science nerd.

If you can get pass through the murky science aspect, you will enjoy this one dearly.

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