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"Deja Vu"
Wayne Klein
Studio: Buena Vista Home Video
Genre: Action
Special Features: "Surveillance Window" An Interactive combination of commentary track/behind-the-scenes footage, extended scenes with commentary, deleted scenes with commentary by director Tony Scott

Tony Scott's "Deja Vu" surprised me since I had believed I'd seen all of his tricks as a director before. I thought this would be a mind numbingly typical Jerry Bruckheimer big explosion sci-fi thriller ride. While it does fit into that category, it's also surprisingly bright for a Bruckheimber-Scott thriller. I'd always thought of Tony as the less talented brother of Ridley since his films generally don't have a lot of personality but are solid workman-like thrillers. I guess Tony showed me (and all the critics out there as well). ***


Denzil Washington plays an ATF agent named Doug Carlin who investigates the bombing of a ferry in New Orleans. When the body of Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton)up on shore that appears to be linked to the bombing he thinks that it's just another case of a body drifting down the Mississippi. What's even more mystifying is that she CALLED him only hours before the explosion and he's never met her before. That is until he realizes the person despite appearences to the contrary was killed and put in the water at least two hours BEFORE the explosion of the ferry. He takes this discovery to an FBI Agent (Val Kilmer)also working the case. The agent asks for Carlin's feedback on surveilance footage of the site and surrounding area from three days before the explosion. What mystifies Carlin is that the video feeds are treated like they are live and they are far too detailed to have come from satellite feeds. A science team working with the FBI has figured out a way to punch a hole through time to see 4 days into the past no more, no less and it must unfold in real time in other words they can't fast forward or rewind what they see unless it has been recorded. Now the team has to gather clues as to the identity of the bomber from this "footage" from the past. Carlin find himself falling in love with one of the victims who was killed by the terrorist(Jim Caviezel in a creepy extended cameo). ***



Imagine "Time After Time" combined with a contemporary thriller and you've got "Deja Vu" in a nutshell. Now I haven't given away the major plot twists of the movie (the trailer gives away TOO much information I might add)but if you can wrap your mind around "Deja Vu" you'll enjoy this thought provoking action thriller with as many twists and turns in its maze like storyline as you can imagine. I did find the ending predictable (I figured it out midway through the film but I was thinking about the only possible way the story could resolve itself successfully. That's not to a deficit on the part of the film's script or director that's just how I think. My advice--don't think about the film just watch it and go along with the flow). ***

Tony Scott turns in his usual tour de force of action direction here with nice character development for Washington, Kilmer, Bruce Greenwood (underused in his role I might add--someone give this terrific actor a role he can sink his teeth into again!). "Deja Vu" is an example of an extremely good mainstream Hollywood thriller. It's not innovative (unlike some of Ridley Scott's films)but it is a fun thrill ride that is definitely worth taking. ---

Special Features:

The DVD features an audio commentary/behind-the-scenes feature with producer Bruckheimer, one of the writers and director Scott discussing the development of the script throughout the film. The feature will take you into behind-the-scenes stuff just before the scene occurs much like seamless branching that allows you to watch two different versions of a movie or like HD-DVD where you can watch behind-the-scenes stuff while you're watching the movie. You can't do that here unfortunately but it is a pretty cool way to combine a behind-the-scenes featurette with the film itself seamlessly intercutting the two and you really don't have to do anything except turn it on. ***

We also get deleted and extended scenes with comments from director Scott as to why he cut them and most make sense. Sure there was more character development but he also comments--accurately--that these scenes slowed down a time sensitive film like "Deja Vu". ---

Final Words:

This is the third go round for Scott and Washington and the films they make together have been terrific. This is an unusual action thriller that combines both an emotional element with the action element and doesn't insult the intelligence of the audience. While the plot is convoulted and takes a major U -turn half way through the film (much like "The Prestige") film audiences that enjoy a film that involves them will find that they don't have a "Deja Vu" like experience with this thriller.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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