Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Movie Review: "Deja Vu"

Denzel Washington is one of those actors that I run hot and cold with. Sometimes he seems too cocksure about himself, and other instances, he seems humble. He is "America's Actor" but I don't seem to remember a lot of classic movies to his credit. The fact that he and another actor/actress I sometimes despise, Julia Roberts, is in one of my guilty pleasure movies, The Pelican Brief, just goes to show you how flip floppy I can be. So it was with some trepidation that I viewed Deja Vu.

The thing that drew me to Deja Vu was that it was a sci-fi action movie. Its sci-fi premise is similiar to the Ben Affleck movie Paycheck in that it is really a plot device and not so much a theme. But it is there and used in a way to remind you that the movie really isn't realistic. It is every day science fiction, in other words.

To help solve a terrorist crime, Denzel and some other government types have to view the past "as it happens". Adam Goldberg plays the lead scientist and the movie actually gives a somewhat scientific reason behind the fiction. As the movie progresses, Denzel falls in love with a person in the past, a woman he had found murdered earlier.

Though the romance angle seems forced, the movie is a fun joyride. Like I said it is a blend of sci-fi and action, so it has the big explosions and the bad guy caricature (played by Jesus himself, Jim Cavaziel) Val Kilmer also has a supporting role and a bunch of other "Hey! It's That Guy!"s pop up. But the movie is all about Denzel.

Denzel is in his tough guy role that he has played before in such movies as Out of Time (which, unfortunately had nothing to due with the space-time continuum). His acting makes you want to root for him against all odds. He is the perfect actor to play the hero in this movie. There is no real attempt to make the hero tragic, he is just a man of action.

The movie itself is directed by Tony Scott, who also directed Denzel in Man on Fire. Tony Scott has a typical style of directing and it is present here. The movie's colors seem almost flat, dull, not vibrant. But it does detract from the scenes, in fact, it adds a gritty "Realism". This is especially true when we see what happened in the past. The muted colors definitely play up the past versus present vibe.

In hindsight, there are a lot of plotholes. Somethings in the past seem to be able to change, but others aren't. At one point, the movie makes it seem that the villain knows he is being spied on from the "Future" but there is little follow up to this. However, I didn't realize any of these points until after the movie and I don't think you will either. For a sci-fi fan, there is plenty of gizmos and techie jargon to please you. For an action fan, there are crashes and chases abound. For romance fans, there is a forced plot, but it is there. It is really an enjoyable piece of cinematic fluff. Unfortunately, this movie will probably leave theaters very soon, so when it comes out on DVD, be sure to catch it.

3 1/2 Time Paradoxes out of 5.


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