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Overall Rating

Awesome: 17.19%
Worth A Look: 23.44%
Average: 21.88%
Pretty Bad32.81%
Total Crap: 4.69%

5 reviews, 34 user ratings

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Deja Vu (2006)
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by brianorndorf

"Time travel: Now without fun!"
2 stars

“Déjà Vu” should’ve been one of those junk food thrillers that makes moviegoing such a kick. I mean, it’s a Jerry Bruckheimer production fergoodnesssake! Yet, “Vu,” as much as it wants to be a sci-fi thriller, get slogged down in the details, and the fun factor sinks with it.

Last fall Tony Scott gave the world “Domino,” a putrid, borderline evil motion picture that, to watch it, felt like doing a backstroke in a pool of gasoline. It was the most visually chaotic and needlessly amped film of the last decade, and provided indisputable proof that Scott had lost all connection to his humanity, mental stability, and most importantly, his yearning to entertain.

Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) is an A.T.F. agent assigned to investigate a terrorist attack in New Orleans when a ferry carrying hundreds of U.S. servicemen and their families is blown to smithereens. His big clue lies in the mutilated corpse of Claire (Paula Patton, “Idlewild”), an innocent who Doug has a gut feeling factors into the bombing but can’t figure out how. Coming to his rescue is a specialized division of the F.B.I. (including Val Kilmer and Adam Goldberg, sporting an ornate hairstyle that resembles a forgotten Bee Gee brother) that introduces a time-travel device which can observe events from four days earlier. Using the high-tech surveillance unit, Doug tests the boundaries of time to hunt a terrorist (James Caviezel, nicely evoking Timothy McVeigh menace) before he can detonate the weapon...again.

“Déjà Vu” returns Scott to his most homogenized years: the late 1990s. “Vu” is a kissin’ cousin to the 1998 blockbuster, “Enemy of the State,” setting an air of hyper-technology, paranoia, and urban decay to tell a story of action and suspense. To be honest, neither film works; yet, to Scott’s credit, at least this time he’s made a somewhat calm movie.

Reteaming with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Scott doesn’t really mind if you believe anything in the film, as long as the excitement grabs you by the collar and the suspense yellows your pants. “Vu” is a thriller first and foremost, but there are so many logic leaps and sludgy tech dialogue to wade through, the picture grows sleepy as it walks the thin line between iffy reality and full blown sci-fi.

The script can’t make up its mind what it wants to be, eventually putting Doug in some fantastical situations to perk itself up. The best is a car chase where Doug plows down the freeway in a baby blue Hummer with a Game Boy version of the magical surveillance device strapped to his head, therefore seeing the road (and his suspect) from four days ago in one eye and the present in the other.

It’s a terrific sequence, but it only lasts for a moment, and soon we’re back at F.B.I. headquarters watching characters with markers try to explain to Doug (aka us, the baffled audience) how this bizarre time machine works. If you actually sit down and think about how “Vu” comes together, the movie has lost; but you can’t help it. Scott eventually gives in and spends too much energy trying to justify this nonsensical plot rather than charging full steam ahead and soar on its lunacy.

Perhaps I should be awed on some level by the picture’s mind-numbing, trickster aesthetic, but mostly I was bored by what “Vu” had to offer, and, for once, it wasn’t because of Tony Scott’s visual roadmap. Scott softens his directorial bullying considerably for his new movie, perhaps in response to the negativity “Domino” received with it opened and closed quickly last year. “Vu” still employs a series of inappropriate zooms and absurd amounts of action coverage, but it stays in check, letting the story itself guide the rhythms of the cinematography. I doubt Scott has repented for his sins, but “Vu” provides hope that the indescribably awful years of cinema he’s produced recently are behind him.

“Déjà Vu” holds the distinction of being one of the first productions to use the Hurricane Katrina ruins of New Orleans as a location. The good taste to use misery for entertainment purposes is up to the viewer to decide, but I found it cast a pall over the whole film. Perhaps too many outside forces, from Katrina to Tony Scott, were dead set against allowing “Déjà Vu” to be anything resembling a fun roller coaster ride, leaving the end result a lifeless, dreary thriller.

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originally posted: 11/22/06 17:58:34
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User Comments

5/20/18 Anne a waste-after less than an hour I stopped watching it 2 stars
12/29/17 morris campbell silly sci -fi fun 4 stars
2/26/14 Uohllsry A's games aren't available to almost any object can become used to write a little self-cons 3 stars
7/04/09 MP Bartley Scott tones his ADD to good effect. A snappy, enjoyable thriller. 4 stars
2/13/09 R.W. Welch Cop-out ending. Otherwise okay. 3 stars
7/09/08 Totir Alexandru I really enjoyed this movie. It has an interesting plot with a lil bit of SciFi. 4 stars
6/28/08 John Millheim Great action, exciting, Denzel did a great job 5 stars
5/12/08 Lilac Interesting and thought-provoking, love watching Denzel, many holes in logic. 4 stars
1/05/08 mr.mike CSI+Time Tunnel+Back to the Future+Magnificent Obsession+........ 4 stars
7/22/07 ben dover brilliant loved it 5 stars
7/18/07 JP Alexander A terrorist act and no muslim in sight, yea right. 1 stars
7/08/07 Steve Newman Cant believe the comments - most of them are wrong!!!! Film was awesome 5 stars
6/28/07 gr117 Meh... 3 stars
6/27/07 Matt Idiotic story but Denzel helps to make it watchable fun 3 stars
5/15/07 TreeTiger Unbelievably unbelievable! A freshly made hot poo from the Denzel school of egotripping... 1 stars
4/25/07 action movie fan exciting sci/fi crime thriller-not overdirected as scott,s past films have been 4 stars
2/14/07 Barb Smith awesome, engaging, kept me on the edge of my seat! 5 stars
2/05/07 William Goss Once you swallow the story, surprisingly entertaining and fresh actioner. Denzel grounds it 4 stars
1/09/07 rocky Once I decided to just go with the preposterous storyline, it kicked ass 4 stars
1/03/07 james great movies: Denzel is the best actor I've seen in years 5 stars
12/23/06 eric appleby I've never seen a man go to so much effort to sleep with someone. Achingly awful. 2 stars
12/21/06 Bitchflaps An entertaining synthesis of admittedly familiar ideas, you care about the characters. 4 stars
12/19/06 Quigley Denzel and Caviezel were the best part of this over-Hollywood-ized sci-fi fable. 3 stars
12/18/06 kes what was this 2 stars
12/16/06 Ole Man Bourbon Pretty entertaining--the outrageous plot gimmicks held my attention. 3 stars
12/14/06 liseyann This was an excellent movie: well-scripted and phenomenal acting 5 stars
12/11/06 Randy Light Great movie. The idea was purely original and I am a stupid asshole that no one likes. 5 stars
12/06/06 Doris Marsilii Awesome script 5 stars
12/03/06 matt this movie was just awesome i loved every minute 5 stars
11/28/06 marion loved it 5 stars
11/27/06 mlg It was entertaining 3 stars
11/25/06 malcolm denzel great as usual, pretty preposterous story 3 stars
11/23/06 Tiffany Losco Movie was really good. I like Denzel 5 stars
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  DVD: 24-Apr-2007



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