Directed by Tony Scott.
Written by Bill Marsilii and Terry Rossio.
Starring Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer and Jim
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 11/27/06
The folks who came up with the
sometimes-ridiculous, sometimes-imaginative script for "Deja Vu"
must have been prepped for comments that for star Denzel Washington,
these half-baked crime thrillers really DO seem like "Deja Vu"...in
fact, being directed again by Tony Scott (who also did Denzel in
"Crimson Tide" and
"Man on Fire"),
Denzel almost goes out of his way to make this appear like any other
Is that because he's bored? This
go-round, he's ATF investigator Doug Carlin, who shows up on Fat
Tuesday in New Orleans to find a crime scene of epic proportions:
543 Naval officers and their familes were blown up on a Canal Street
ferry by a nefarious "patriotic" criminal named Carroll Oerstadt
(Jim Caviezel, who even feels familiar in his role). Also tied
into the ferry investigation: a beautiful woman named Claire (Paula
Patton, from this summer's OutKast musical
met with the killer just days before the explosion. But, since
Carlin is about 10,000 times more street smart than every other cop,
FBI and ATF investigator attached to this investigation, he is asked
by a fed (Val Kilmer, taking the check) to help lead a special task
force with a new tool that can look into the past exactly
four-and-a-half days ago with four random satellites that also have
the ability to look through walls, pick up sound of its subjects and
even other people's cell phones and look from angles that defy
everything you thought you knew about cameras.
So, as sci-fi, "Deja Vu" comes up with an
interesting idea, but the whole time, you aren't wowed by it so much
as mystified...this is a standard-issue thriller that has one
mini-curveball to allow Carlin a way to catch a killer, but this
could have been written any number of different ways and it still
would feel just as familiar. Some of that is due to Denzel,
who just HAS to be bored doing the kinds of films that he sometimes
appears in; he did direct
Fisher", which was generally well-received, but he hasn't gone
back to doing things like that since. Doesn't he want to do
something that doesn't take place in the here and now? Doesn't
he want to do a comedy? Maybe an independent film?
Because everyone loves Denzel, maybe he's afraid to upset the people
by actually taking a chance, but since "Virtuosity" tanked more than
10 years ago, he has mostly stayed close to the vest with his
choices and I think it's got to be killing him creatively.
Many of the films since have been good--in the case of
"Devil in a Blue Dress", and
"Remember the Titans", they've been great--but none of them
really made you say wow, not like you did when you saw "Glory", or
"Crimson Tide", or "Philadelphia", or "Malcolm X." His next
film apparently is an epic co-starring his "Virtuosity" co-star
Russell Crowe, so hopefully things are looking up.
But, in "Deja Vu", nothing out of the
ordinary happens, but thanks to director Scott's talents with
keeping his productions lively, this film is very watchable even if
you know exactly what's going to happen. Patton is stunning,
even roughed up, as she looks throughout this film; even though
Kilmer looks like he was just visiting the set one day to see his
old buddy Scott (who directed him in "Top Gun" and "True Romance")
and added to the film for a few days' worth of shooting, it doesn't
matter because you love Val Kilmer no matter what it is he's doing.
And, as a movie shot in post-Katrina New Orleans, it's always nice
when people will throw money into a big production to help support
Doesn't change the fact that "Deja Vu" still
only shoots for mediocrity and reaches it, but, you know.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard