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It's a real shame that everything I had read about Déjà Vu concerned
the high-powered explosions and loud clatter of guru/producer Jerry
Bruckheimer. No mention, except maybe as a footnote, was given to
A-list director Tony Scott and the magic he has woven in his past three
films. The man who brought us Top Gun has seen a sort of revival in
style lately with the entertaining Spy Game, the amazing Man on Fire,
and the kinetic Domino. Scott has taken the quick cuts of music videos
and has infused them into his shooting style. His editor better be
making some good money as these films fly by with filters, jump-cuts,
grain, and camera angles swiveling at every turn. Greatly overshadowed
by brother Ridley Scott and his more serious, award-winning epics, Tony
has been pumping out some of the most solid and entertaining films of
the past couple decades. With a reuniting of semi-regular star Denzel
Washington, Déjà Vu proves that when Bruckheimer is paired with a like
mind, his usual drivel can become great. Scott shows us how to hone the
explosions, noise, and clutter to an effective level and gives us a
Déjà Vu could have easily reduced itself to timetravel farce, going by the books to show a time warp in order to solve a crime. The far-fetched premise of being able to see the past as it happens four and a half days later should seem crazy and by watching the previews you are given the idea that it will be just a series of do-overs. Fortunately the trailers these days show a totally different movie than what has been crafted. Scott and his screenwriters have not only developed a sci-fi tale seeped in enough reality to at least be looked upon as plausible for the sake of the story, but they nicely tidy up any chance of their being a plothole. Our story begins with a devastating domestic terrorist act upon a ferry carrying over 500 people, Navy and family. Washington's ATF agent is brought in and discovers that it was no accident. Intrigued by the efficiency he displays, an FBI agent, played with nicely effective restraint by Val Kilmer, calls him in to check out a new toy they have to find who the perpetrator is. During the use of this screen of the past, Denzel acquires a feeling of obligation to do all he can to prevent what he sees from occurring in the present, no matter what consequences that might entail for the future. The quest to stop the violence begins with an attractive young woman who unknowingly has become an integral part in what will ultimately transpire.
The beauty of this film is that with multiple timelines being shown parallel to each other, there are many questions that desperately need answering. To credit all involved, they appear to have put themselves in the audience's shoes and piece-by-piece wrote in a reason for everything. Anything that is seen either in the past, present, or future has a reason for being there and will be intelligently explained. Also, the performances are stellar, Denzel and Kilmer as well as a quietly maniacal Jim Caviezel and the emotionally exasperated Paula Patton, and the visuals unique. While Scott has toned down the ultra-kinetic cuts and filters for the main action, his style is still stamped on the graphics of their screen showing the past. The motion trails and speed scans lend a stylized digital editing program feel and are gorgeous to watch. Déjà Vu's best sequence, however, is the crazy car chase during the present in pursuit of a vehicle in the past, definitely a rush and orchestrated almost flawlessly. Even though Ridley gets the accolades and Tony gets the hack/overproduced label, I must say, while they are the best directing duo in Hollywood, I might have to give the edge on pure cinematic entertainment to the younger Tony. He is on a roll and doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon.
I'd say this movie definitely lived up to expectations I had from the ad trailers. A good mix of science fiction and cop drama, with the occasional good joke. Both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Denzel entertained as usual, as did Adam Goldberg. Don't be turned off by the professional reviewers. Those guys can never seem to enjoy a movie that's content with being slightly unbelievable. If I always wanted believable, I'd stick to documentaries or the news. There won't be any Oscars coming out of it, but it was a action-filled thriller that kept me guessing till the end. If you liked the Island, this is right up your ally.
It has been quite a while since I have seen a film that was this beautifully crafted and nearly flawless. The acting is very convincing and the storyline follows quite closely to a Michael Criton-esquire novel. I was rather surprised at the 6.8 rating this movie has received thus far, and I hope that more positive reviews will come in order for the score to be bumped up to at least the mid 7's. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed by this film. For one thing, it stars Denzel Washington, Jim Cavizel, who I felt did a marvelous job at playing the antagonist, Val Kilmer, and Bruce Greenwood. With these four actors, you typically cannot go wrong. I notice that these four are also never in the tabloids and don't get caught up in the typical Hollywood tripe that is so prevalent today. They have raw talent, are not just getting by on their looks, and their performance, especially in this film, shows it. "Deja Vu" is one of those rare films that grabs a hold of you from the very start and does not let go of you until the very end. People even clapped after the film ended and such applause was well deserved. If you do anything at all this Thanksgiving weekend, then by all means, put going to see "Deja Vu" on your shopping list. I can promise you that both you and your family/significant others will be blow though the very back wall of the theater.
I was also at that Century City screening last night, and I was
probably one of the people who were saying they thought this movie was
awesome. I enjoyed it immensely. It has been described as an
action-adventure-romance-sci-fi pic and it truly is all of that.
First of all, the cinematography was stunning. Tony Scott and his DOP, Paul Cameron, do fantastic work -- every shot is beautifully composed. And all the footage that involves a cast of thousands (meaning the crowd scenes) is masterful work.
I don't know why I started with commenting on the photography (also the editing) of this movie. It's probably because that is what struck me from the very beginning, particularly when there is so much going on in the opening sequence. Yet you never get lost. Above all, the performances and story are great and really suck you in. Yes, this movie requires a fair bit of suspension of disbelief. I would go so far as to say the plot was far-fetched, but the heart of the story just takes you along for the ride.
For the record, I felt Scott's most recent teaming with Denzel, Man on Fire, was one of the best movies of 2004. I don't think Deja Vu is as good as Man on Fire, but it's right up there as one of the most entertaining and thrilling movies I've seen this year.
For sheer entertainment and an intriguing (though not flawless) plot, Bruckheimer, Scott and Co. sure have DELIVERED the goods.
I recommend you see Deja Vu on the big screen with a big, loud audience for maximum enjoyment. Part of the appeal last night was exactly that; hearing the audience -- as one -- laugh, applaud and sigh along with this movie and getting swept up in that communal experience.
post scriptum -- Any fans of Otto Preminger's wonderful 1994 classic Laura may be delighted by the echoes of that storyline in Deja Vu.
I'll start by saying that I was reluctant to even see this movie but
after some insistence by family, I sat and watched in pure enjoyment.
Articles, reviews, trailers, TV spots, DO NOT do this film justice. Denzel Washington pulls out another great performance as well as an aged Val Kilmer. While some will point out that the plot is hard to swallow, it doesn't matter because it's wrapped up in sheer entertainment. You feel for these characters. There are no holes to be found in either the plot or it's twists. It's believable at the same time unbelievable. If you can get past the middle 20 minutes or so while they explain what the team can do, you're in for a great ride.
I can't, in three paragraphs, paint a picture like Deja Vu. Of the many films Mr.Washington has put out over the last 4 years or so, this is by far his best if not one of the best of the year.
Highly recommended for the open-minded.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I kept my hopes low for this mediocre time machine movie and my
expectations were not exceeded! I realize the filmmakers are solely in
it for the money. Film is now, for the most part, a commodity like
toothpaste and paper towels - and it shows! I wouldn't even be
surprised if Hollywood stooped so low as to hired Public Relation firms
to write fake positive reviews on internet sites like this one!
While I have no complaint with the acting, the storyline is just utterly ridiculous, and boring as tears. I don't think it is asking too much for a story to make some sense, instead of treating the movie going public like a bunch of teenagers looking for some cheap thrills!
Where do I begin? This highly professional terrorist has no motive for his madness. He pops out of the blue, belongs to no organizations or movements, and has no ideology, no allies, and no one helping him. Our meany terrorist quotes Thomas Jefferson, claims he's not killing people because the U.S. military hurt his feelings when they rejected him for being "too much" of a patriot (I kid you not), and all he wants when he's captured is to confess like he's talking to a priest. (Plus a cigarette, of course - don't all bad guys smoke these days?) Oh, please, give me a break! How sanitized a story can you get? The filmmakers and screenwriters of Deja Vu have absolutely no guts, whatsoever, to make any kind of statement other than that terrorists are crazy and get hurt feelings! Wow! What an interesting insight!
Next, The U.S. Government has a time machine that uses so much energy it caused the last Canada to New York blackout while doing experiments with just small animals, which, in-turn, all end-up going into cardiac arrest, and dying. But when our fearless hero, Denzel Washington, goes back in time the energy problem miraculously disappears. Keep in mind a single piece of paper was sent through time a couple of days earlier, and it knocked out a whole city's power!
The dying problem is also solved too, with a full recovery taking less than a day. Keep in mind, when most people recover from going into cardiac arrest, they are usually not strong enough to waltz out of the hospital a couple of HOURS later! But Denzel is special, and he doesn't even have super powers!
When Denzel is shot by a rather large caliber bullet, he begins losing blood fast. So fast in fact, that it's obvious to everyone he needs to make a trip to the emergency room, pronto! Instead he goes over to his women's home because of time constraints. There they wash his wound with water and dry it with paper towels. He miraculously stops bleeding because he washed his wound. No need for stitches or compresses, just soap and water stops bleeding from gunshot wounds. Imagine what other miracles would have occurred if he had the time to wash the rest of his body!
I think you get the picture. This is such a dopey film because the stupidity is non-stop! It's a shame films are not rated based on cleverness and intelligence. If they were, perhaps filmmakers would start making more interesting movies!
I usually like sci-fi when it's pure sci-fi. I usually like present day
drama when it's believably real. Disaster, at least for me, looms large
when sci-fi meets real life drama. So here we have a present day crime
thriller crossed with sci-fi time travel...And, this movie kicks butt,
works so well, in fact, it's nuances should be studied in film school.
It's original enough to be compelling-where we are not in some distant
future, but the here and now.
The story, the characters, and the effects mesh well to suspend belief to the point that you "get on-board" and enjoy the ride. This is the way to do sci-fi with believable real life situations. The cinematography, the implementation of technology, and even a beautiful (but presently dead) damsel in distress, combine to give the actors, who are uniformly good to excellent, the boost to put this in rarefied good sci-fi territory. Genre fans are shoo-ins and those who think they don't like sci-fi should enjoy this one too. 7.5 to 8 out of 10.
This richly dense action-thriller has Denzel Washington as his typical but well cast character in this well thought out script that uses the idea of time and space in a superb manner. In one of the best genre thriller of its type, this consistent execution, high-quality production provides an intellectual and mostly satisfying experience. the movie also contents musical strains reminiscent of the intense and action-focised Bourne Identity series (2002) that also offers a similar strength and sharpness the movie's appeal. Except for a "Stargate" (from the movie and television series) like structure that unnecessarily detracts from the scene and the obvious impossibility or at least gigantic leap of science two-thirds way through the movie, such lapses are minor compared to the intensity and small deja vu clues that actually enhance the movie till the end. Sometimes predictable, but nevertheless, it's in the execution that matters here. A solid eight out of ten.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I consider time-travelling movies particularly interesting most of the time. I like the idea of a bridge between past and present, that turns communication possible, as well as timeline branching. I can remember "Frequency", that i found an amazing movie and recommend to those enjoying this subject. About this movie, there are a few things i particularly dislike. It's particularly annoying when characters are made stupid so that screenwriter get the story the way he wanted. Why was that paper sent to a place where Denzel would be just in that instant? After that "forced failure", why didn't they try to send the paper once again to a place he could certainly see it... his home for example... didn't he ever go to sleep? Then to solve all the problems... it was made possible sending him to the past... well i can't comment on that, i'll just assume it as a possibility in movie's reality, though it would be kind of impossible to imagine it after so much trouble sending the mass of little sheet of paper. But even when he was sent to the past, after the girl's rescue, the screenwriter created suspense by making characters once again stupid and complicating everything. Why didn't Denzel try to contact ATF and just warn to abort that ferry travel so that they could safely dismantle the bomb, without risking all that people's life... Well i'll answer that, because screenwriter wanted to break people's heart after his death, just when love between he and "Claire" (Paula Patton) had been set. And of course even more important was to make him appear once again, so that all people get happy again... I can't like movies that get their suspense or any other type of emotions, by turning characters dumb, this is usually done in bad horror movies. These and many other reasons don't make this movie a good reason to go to cinema. This is a Sunday's afternoon movie to watch with the family while pictionary is played, so that we don't take the movie too seriously.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was expecting more of this film based on the title and the trailer
but ultimately came away feeling a bit taken for a ride. I read Sci Fi,
I understand some of the time travel stuff they write so would like to
add some thoughts.
To begin the whole process the ferry must blow up and he must travel back in time at least twice. The script writers get lazy in adding the ambulance and the stuff at the flat in the wrong time loop. They are compressing the two time loops into one time loop and using some of the elements to explain stuff that is logically wrong. Why two time loops and why is the film wrong? because the dead girl and the stuff at the flat and the ambulance all exist in the same time stream in the film. Why is this a problem: she must have been alive to help put it in the flat which he finds before he time travels but her dead body is in the morgue, so where was this other alive version of the girl in his current time stream???? She can't be the same girl in the river with fingers missing as that should already have happened. Now there are two of him at the end, but only because he time travelled, she never did, so there can only ever be one of her in any one time stream or loop at any one time. He saved her with the ambulance therefore its in the wrong time stream loop if she is also dead in the same time loop, so there must be two time loops, one where she is dead and one where she is alive. (now some might try to get round this by saying she was killed after going to the flat with Denzel and then placed in the river, but I don't think the timing and the positioning of the bomber will support that very well, and of course that didn't happen in the film)
The whole sequence would make more sense if it went like this. start: A note arrives from the future on his desk, his partner gets it. His partner disrupts the bomber, gets shot. Bomber can no longer use the car. This makes the bomber go for the girl and her car. The car is changed the girl dies at the hand of the bomber she ends up in the river and found later but too early for the ferry explosion. There should be no traces at the flat. There should be no ambulance at the bombers place. Science team get him on board, he starts the investigation, he sends the note into the past
Loop 1 He travels back in time. He gets the ambulance. He saves the girl from the first death. They go back to her flat, he arranges the letters and leaves the blood etc. Bomber still rides across the bridge (very very important for the logic) They try and save the ferry they fail (and die) The ferry blows up (again).
Logically this should have happened to have all the elements available at the start of the film to travel back a second time, where everything in the past is in place, so he can now see all of those things in the past that he put there and changed. So the time travel trip shown in the film should actually be the start of the movie (as it fits all the requirements for the first time loop) not the one leading to the shown ending which should logically be the end of the second time loop and the continuation of the time stream and exit from the time loop that could potentially go on for ever if the ferry keeps blowing up.
NB Bomber riding across the bridge: In reality if he had succeeded in stopping the ferry from blowing up as shown in the movie he would not have been able to see the bomber ride across the bridge on the CCTV(future part) as he was changing the past in real time, eg Bomber is now on the ferry. (remember the two are linked in real time, they said so). The ambulance, bandages at the flat, phone call etc must exist in the same loop as the bomber riding across the bridge.
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