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Paul Greenwood

Published December 15th, 2006 | by Paul Greenwood

Deja Vu Review

Classification: 12A Director: Tony Scott Rating: 2.5/5

You could be forgiven for thinking that Denzel Washington actually is a cop, given the amount of times he seems to play one on screen. To be fair, he manages to put a reasonably fresh spin on each new character, here replacing the sarcasm from Inside Man with a sort of jovial efficiency.

This time around he’s an ATF agent investigating an explosion on a New Orleans ferry that killed 500 people. When the body of a young woman washes up full of clues it forms the basis of his search and leads him to a government agency led by Kilmer who have developed technology that allows them to look exactly 4 days, 6 hours into the past (no, really). They can go to any location within a certain radius, round corners and through walls, allowing them to search for clues and identify the bomber. But what if the contraption can be used to go back and actually stop the event from ever happening?

More talk than walk, Deja Vu is a really rather pedestrian police procedural dressed up as high concept sci-fi. Action scenes are surprisingly thin on the ground, limited to a couple of car chases and a couple of shoot-outs. And, like any time paradox thriller, what the filmmakers seem to get away with on the surface will ultimately cause your brain to fold in on itself if you think about it too much. This leaves Deja Vu as far too silly to take seriously and far too serious to be any fun.

Still, Tony Scott at least seems to have temporarily regained the ability to direct a film like a normal person. Perversely though, a bit of his usual hi-jinks is maybe just what Deja Vu is lacking. The trailer kind of hints at flashiness and events repeating themselves, but it’s played straight as a die and is unfortunately all the duller for it. Washington’s presence does manage to elevate it to a cut above but, in all honesty, without him it could just as easily be a piece of DTV hokum with Christopher Lambert or Mario Van Peebles.

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