Friday, May 18, 2007

Déjà Vu (a guest review by Number Three)

Do you want the quick and dirty on what Déjà Vu is about and whether or not you’ll like it? Then the quickest and most accurate way I can describe it is “Memento meets Man on Fire.” In said film you have a sort of Nolan-esque story flow married with the action/thriller genre that Tony Scott has deftly mastered with both Will Smith in Enemy of the State and Denzel Washington in Man on Fire. And once again the man on fire, Denzel, has teamed up with Scott for Déjà Vu, but with the added twist of some time-flow funkiness.

At this point it should pretty much be obvious to yourself whether or not you’ll like the movie. Did you like Enemy of the State or Man on Fire? Then you’ll like it. Did you like Memento or The Prestige? Then you’ll like it. Did you like all four? Then you’ll love it.

So here’s the basic plot: A terrorist explosion happens on a ferry boat killing over 500 peeps. ATF agent Doug Carlin comes coolly striding in on the scene with all the great slow-mo black-bro mojo camera tow and starts investigating. As he begins to uncover the plot, some higher up investigators - including the dead weight that is Val Kilmer (who appears to have gained weight) – are impressed with his investigative skills, so they hire him to help find the baddie who blew up the boat. It turns out that Val and his boys have some slick equipment called “Snow White” which I won’t give too much away about other than to say that they can look in real time at anything anywhere (provided they have a good signal) except for this: what they are looking at is always exactly 4 days and some hours in the past. This allows them to try and track down the bad man by casing the area before the explosion happened. Then the fun begins. Denzel decides that he might be able to prevent the disaster after discovering a unique sort of connection to the four-days-gone-by time flow. Add in an effective woman plot device and you’ve got a great action/thriller story that emerges.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Geeze, I’ve had enough time travel movies already!” But, no, you really haven’t. Because, you see, in most of those movies people go back in time and start changing the future and all that. But in this movie, there is an ominous inevitability that makes things happen as they have to happen, because they happened. You want things to change as you’re watching, but somehow things always turn out the way they turned out. So it remains to be seen whether or not the disaster is averted. I’ll let you watch for yourself.

There are some fresh and cool ways that the storywriters make use of the whole time thing, and Tony Scott effortlessly injects action and tension into those apparatuses. For example, there’s the whole car chase sequence where Denzel is trying to follow the killer, except he’s following him in the four days ago feed because he is moving out of range of their signal. So he’s trying to chase the guy down who isn’t there anymore in the present, and the traffic is totally different, and OH MY GOSH WATCH OUT FOR THAT TRUCK! I don’t want to give all the mechanics of that scene away, but let’s just say that the whole Nolan/Scott thing works.

So do yourself a favor and watch Déjà Vu. So do yourself a favor and watch Déjà Vu.

Number Three’s Score:
Mouthspeak (impact of dialog): +10
Watchfeel (impact of visuals): +18
Mouthfeel (overall watchability): +14

Number Three

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