Déjà Vu

2007-04-14 12:08

Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) is an ATF agent assigned to investigate the bombing of a New Orleans ferry that cost over 500 people their lives. Amongst the dead, he discovers the body of a woman murdered before the explosion, which holds the key to the case. Aided by FBI agent Andrew Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), he begins to reconstruct murdered Claire’s (Paula Patton) life shortly before the bombing, using a top secret super computer that allows the investigators to see 4 days into the past.


The joke here starts with the title – you have seen this movie before. This is by-the-numbers Jerry Bruckheimer produced garbage, with all the slickness of Tony Scott’s other vacuous action vehicles. It is almost indistinguishable from Man on Fire, except that it is slower and less believable, and whereas Washington’s obsession in that film was with a kidnapped little girl, in Déjà Vu it is an attractive murder victim. Man on Fire was no masterpiece, but this is even weaker. It loses focus pretty early on, and slowly shambles from one ridiculous and boring scene to the next.

After the spectacular opening explosion, which gives a terrorist bombing the look of a sports car advert, the film settles into Denzel Washington’s “quirky” investigation. Loads of policemen mill around, and everything is said in a grave and prophetic way. Clues are discovered, and a tenuous emotional bond is established between murder victim Claire, and Washington, as he reconstructs her last days alive.

When the time travel technology is unveiled (a device that lets the FBI see four days into the past, anywhere in the States), the film takes on a distinctly B-grade sci-fi tone, as in – “This is so ludicrous, why are these people insulting our intelligence like this?”

Without giving away any more of the extremely slim plot, it is sufficient to say this film is absolutely ridiculous. No effort has been made to include the concepts of cause and effect, yet it all ties up into a neat little package at the end. It wavers between action, thriller, and romance, never delivering the goods in any genre.

Besides having no substance at all, Tony Scott’s advertising style direction reduces the deaths of 500 people, and the hurricane that decimated New Orleans to convenient props in a soulless thrill ride. The film panders, sickeningly, to the fantasy that a terror attack could be “undone”, but even this idea flashes by like a shiny new SUV and is never explored.

Suffice to say, you should avoid this crap. If you must see Denzel Washington stumble through a brainless action movie, watch Man on Fire. If you want to see a film about time travel, see Donnie Darko, and if you want to see a film about terrorism, see Munich. But whatever you do don’t see this sad failure of a film.

- Ivan Sadler
If you get the feeling you've seen this Denzel Washington / Tony Scott thriller before, only better, you're right.

Johan 2006/12/21 8:32 AM
Escape Why do we rent dvd's, go to theatre or the movies. To Escape from "reality" The general population are not movie critics, but you either like something or you don't. So even if you had spend a couple of bucks on a movie and it doesn't make the grade for you, you still escaped for an hour or two into a dimension where reality seems faded, and you don't have to worry about the electricity bill. So Mr Sadler, I have sympathy for you if you did not like this. You might have enjoyed Borat where others hated it. Diversity is what makes people interesting. Different strokes for different folks, heh?
*** 2006/12/21 8:54 AM
Déjà Vu I have to agree with the review given a bove, the movie is really bad and not gripping at all. With this title I expected something really good and this movie is rather disappointing. I like the whole sci-fi/thriller mix but this is not done well. The whole story line is just too far fetched and Denzel is just too over-rated.
ray 2006/12/21 8:56 AM
Deja Vu I hate movie reviewers who play it safe by trashing other people's efforts and always write NEGATIVE REVIEWS !. Its almost as if reviewers are in some contest to trash movies and write the most off putting comments about most movies in general. If one where to follow these reviews u could almost conclude that 98% of all movies ever made are not worth watching and mebbe movie houses should just close down then !
Angs 2006/12/21 9:21 AM
Ag ja wat Kyk ek het nog nie die movie gesien nie maar ek dink dat dit baie soos Titanic gaan wees. (DIT MAAK NIE SIN NIE, EK WEET.
Aschr 2006/12/21 9:52 AM
Agree with Johan I have to agree with Johan.Mr Sadler dont tell ppl not go watch rather tell them you didn`t like and let ppl form their own opinion and come back and either agree or disagree with you.I am sure u `ll get lots of for and against reviews
Dave 2006/12/21 10:00 AM
Deja Vu Put it this way, any movie that the critics dont like, i go and see..9 out of 10 its a great movie!
ivan sadler 2006/12/21 11:04 AM
Deja Vu I think it is my job as a reviewer to warn people not to waste their money on rubbish that is worse than any Friday night ETV film. Deja Vu was boring and rubbish, compared to Man on Fire, and loads of other action movies in a similar vein. It even made Time Cop look like a masterpiece. If people keep lapping up all this crap that keeps spewing out of Hollywood, then they will keep making more.
mylene 2006/12/21 1:18 PM
deja vu stop believing other people and look for your self brilliant !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gerhard 2006/12/21 9:59 PM
Déjà Vu Another second repeat of deja vu all over again?
The Real Critic 2006/12/21 10:46 PM
You don't know jack! To every member of the public who reads this please do not listen to the so called critic's review. While it may not be a Man On Fire (which incidentally was one of the best films of the decade so far) it is most definitely worth some respect. The critics who so readily give films 1 star out of 5 are merely failed human beings whose concept of a good film are still Casablanca and Gone With The Wind. Now there is merit to the majority of yeateryears film-making however there is mcuh credit to be given here too. Tony Scott is possibly one of the world's foremost directors at the moment and manages to create excellent entertaining cinema for the new age movie goer. Regards - The Real Critic
mike 2006/12/22 3:23 PM
deja vu i was hesitent to see it after this review , but , what movie did the critic see , because i thought it was pretty good and worth the 2hrs spent watching it
Esté 2006/12/30 5:38 PM
Deja vu I must say i was actually quite intrigued by the concept of the movie. Some things are absurd; believing this sort of thing is a bit naive. However, the actual storyline, looking past the typical "grim" macho humour, etc. ("I'm beside myself," says Denzel. Ha ha, very funny) is quite well executed and brings interesting concepts to the viewer. Anyway, although Ivan Sadler might argue that the script and romantic sub plot were rather clichéd (which i agree with), it's what the public wants, isn't it? You have to recognise the plot, which is different from the usual. Anyways, make me a better full length film, get it onto the big screen, make a couple million dollars and maybe i'll agree with the childish, ill-mannered criticism.
Frederik 2006/12/30 6:12 PM
Deja vu Just because you didn't understand the movie...
Antony 2007/01/01 9:51 PM
Deja Vu Having seen the movie before I read the review I had to chuckle at the supposed movie expertise of the the critic. Maybe he was just in a bad mood, but he really missed a good thought provoking movie with some seemingly preconceived perceptions he then tries to sell to a far smarter public than he realizes. Just as well I dont rely on reviews before watching a movie. I found it absorbing and stimulating and would recommend it to any open minded movie lover.
Thea 2007/01/02 12:22 PM
Deja Vu I agree wholeheartedly with Ivan Sadler. I left the movie wondering what the hell it was all about - BEFORE I read his review!
GODWIN 2007/01/03 11:35 AM
rahul 2007/01/04 12:16 PM
deja Vu The best movie critics are your friends. Sorry Ivan, but you and I will never be mates cos we dont have anything in common! At least not enjoying this movie.. I loved the thought it provoked in me, the tricks it played on me and the overall effect it had on me. Yeah, the time capsule might be physically impossible, but don't you guys feel that conceptually it is possible?
Monique 2007/01/06 4:38 PM
mixed reaction i stumbled across these reviews after watching Deja Vu, and i tend to agree with ivan on the subject of not taking any one specific idea through to conclusion, ie concepts of cause and effect of time travel, but on the other hand, i actually enjoyed the change in story line, which isn't the same as every other action thriller, the time travel aspect making one actually think for a change...
Phumla 2007/01/08 1:03 PM
dejavu i agree wholeheartedly with Antony's comments. i thouroughlym enjoyed the movie and i liked the fact that the idea was a nice change from the usual and original as well. Im actually going to go watch it a second time
lilly 2007/01/11 3:53 PM
entertaining I don't understand why the criticts are so dissapointed in the outcome of this movie. I think that when you look at a movie you have to realise that everything can't always make total sense because of the realm in which a movie is played out. I think that this movie was brilliant. Denzel played very well.. although there was some scenes to be expected and the theorie of time travel not explained thouroughly - the caracters in the movie didn't understand the phenomina they stumbled upon themselves. The story has a nice twist and intriqued me. It was not entertaining the whole time.. but has some very good scenes and situations played out.. with an interesting love component... I would sertainly recommend it to denzel fans.. because it is not worse than his usual movies.. it is on the same level.
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