November 25, 2006

MOVIES: Deja Vu (Tony Scott, 2006)

A ferry explosion in New Orleans kills over 500, and ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) is assigned to a special team investigating the case. There is one odd clue: One of the bodies actually washed ashore several minutes before the explosion. Why did someone need to make Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton, in a role even more thankless than most chick-in-a-thriller roles) look like just another ferry victim?

Doug's team has nifty new surveillance technology that allows them to view almost anywhere in the city, but only at a precise time gap of 4 days and 6 hours in the past. If they can figure out where to watch, they might be able to catch the bomber before he flees the country and disappears for good. Eventually, Doug figures out that this isn't just fancy satellite technology, but an actual time machine.

Once that happens, the movie's off the deep end as far as plot goes; like almost all time travel stories, there are loose ends and plot holes you could fit an entire movie into. But as such things go, this is well done, and writers Bill Marsilii and Terry Rossio at least take a good stab at tying up those loose ends.

They're helped immensely by the presence of Denzel Washington, who projects such likability and trustworthiness that his willingness to accept the movie's loopier twists makes it much easier for us to go along for the ride, and by Adam Goldberg, who is saddled with most of the movie's technobabble, and delivers it with great conviction.

It's hardly essential moviegoing, but it's an entertaining enough action flick.

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