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Deja Vu

After a devastating ferry bombing, New Orleans agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) investigates. A series of clues points to a dead woman, Claire, who becomes the key to solving the riddle. Helped by FBI agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), Doug enters a strange world of futuristic detection that allows him to see into the past. Using the knowledge of the present, he literally races against the clock to prevent the disaster from happening and capture the person responsible.
Director Tony Scott’s previous ventures involved slightly offbeat plots mixed with gritty action, which Deja Vu has. After Doug accepts that he can use a time device as an investigative tool, he involves himself into the strange concept determined to save lives. As he slowly watches Claire go about her routine in the past, he begins to fall in love. The feeling gets returned when he travels back in time to save her, making for an unusual romance between people who have never met. The romance is a mere sub-plot to the main event of hunting the terrorist whose radical ideas make for a dangerous perpetrator of hate.
Scott’s sense of visual style is evident taking the viewer right into the story. The first half of the film is a straight forward investigate drama which suddenly turns into the realms of sci fi with the time travel strand. The convoluted ‘technobable’ does become confusing at times, but once Doug uses the new device to his advantage the story possibilities become evident, with clues from both timelines being used to save the day. The general story narrative does tend to drag on somewhat lessening the impact of the finale.
Denzel Washington gives his usual strong performance bringing a true sense of selfless heroism to his role. Washington’s easy going charm grounds the movie in a way that is crucial for the audience to believe the time twisting scenario. The scenes between Washington and Paula Patton, playing Claire, show the confusion and determination of a pair who are caught in a time paradox, providing support to each other until the end. Val Kilmer doesn’t have much to do but still shows the talent that made him a unique actor upon his debut.
Whilst there is a lot of interesting story ideas, unfortunately the running time drags the concept to breaking point. With tighter editing the film could have been a very punchy futuristic thriller. What remains seems like a good short film trapped in an overlong one that itself doesn’t know its’ time limits.
Rating out of 10: 6

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