(Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2007 / BVHE)
Overview: A ferry filled with crewmen from the USS Nimitz and their families was blown up in New Orleans on Mardi Gras. BATF Doug Carlin is brought in to assist in the massive investigation, and gets attached to an experimental FBI surveillance unit, one that uses spacefolding technology to directly look back a little over four days into the past. While tracking down the bomber, Carlin gets an idea in his head: could they use the device to actually travel back in time and not only prevent the bombing but also the murder of a local woman whose truck was used in the bombing?
DVD Verdict: 'Déjà Vu' is the perfect blend of science fiction and action film for the average movie watcher as well as the science fiction fan. At its core, it is a thrilling, well paced action adventure story about an ATF agent, Doug Carlin, investigating a terrorist bombing on a ferry full of US Navy sailors in New Orleans. 540 people are killed in the massive explosion, but one young woman's body washes up and doesn't seem to fit with the other victims; though it looks like a victim of the explosion, the body was discovered 8 minutes before the bomb went off. Other pieces of evidence regarding this victim quickly lead Carlin to roughly piece together where she fits in the puzzle; unfortunately, none of it is enough to provide leads to the perpetrator.
When Carlin presents his information to the FBI agents in charge, they are quickly impressed by his keen ability to size up a crime scene and filter out the noise from the pertinent details. They invite him to join a new test project that uses the latest technology to analyze a crime scene. Though the FBI and scientists involved try to hide the true nature of the technology, it doesn't take agent Carlin long to realize that there is more to it than advanced surveillance camera processing. This is where the science fiction weaves itself into the crime action drama film. While testing a new high-powered telescope technology, a way to bend the fabric of space/time is discovered, allowing the ability to watch the past in "real time" exactly 4+ days before.
What makes this film work so well is that the action mostly takes place in the present, but the technology leads to some very good storytelling and the most interesting car chase ever conceived. I had read in some positive reviews that as good as it was it didn't fully make sense...well they are wrong - it complete sense - just pay attention to the details along the way and the story comes together nicely. Yes, there are a few inconsistencies - whose explanations probably were left on the cutting room floor to keep the film well paced - but they are small. If you have a basic understanding of the physics and space/time you can piece them together yourselves; if you are not, don't worry and ignore them because they don't take away from this very film.
And so in wrap and with all that being said, despite the creaky plot conceit, 'Déjà Vu' is pretty terrific: basically a police/government, find the bad guy (a not the usual for him performance by James Caviziel who brings his patented humanity and kindness to this role and then twists it all up) police procedural drama filmed in gorgeous saturated color.
Though 'Déjà Vu' is not a great film, it is a good one. Again, come to it with an open heart and mind and you will not be disappointed. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
The Surveillance Window: Takes you back in time to experience behind-the-scenes moments with the Filmmakers
Deleted and Extended Scenes