Déjà Vu

Christ, I’ve been lazy of late. I’ve watched quite a few films and haven’t even be bothered to drag my arse a few metres to my computer to type about them. Since I have 5 or 6 films to catch up on, I’d better get started…

Déjà Vu (2006)

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a big fan of action films. It’s very easy to point to action films in general and accuse them of being hackneyed and devoid of intelligence. I don’t think of them like that. I think of them as perfect vessels to pass the time- with enough gunfire, death and tits to sate my raging inner pleb. Truth be told, I couldn’t watch a Michael Mann film every day, much in the same way that I prefer not to view The Godfather films on a regular basis. Why? Because they stimulate my brain and normally when I slump in front of my T.V. I’m looking for the opposite of that. Hence why I actively seek out brainless action blockbusters-to shrink the danger of my using my brain too much.

“Brace yourselves, I think you’re about to witness a murder.”

Nothing has “brainless action blockbuster” written over it more blantantly than Déjà Vu. We open on a nice New Orleans day where 500 Johnny Americana sailors are on a ferry to a Mardi Gras party with their smiling, flag-waving little children and doting wives. Suddenly, this tranquil, American-as-apple-pie scene is rocked by a fuckingmegahuge explosion big enough to give Michael Bay a raging hard-on. After several ssslllooow mmmmoooottiooonnn, sad music scored shots of people being stretchered out of the port, we have ATF Agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) pull up and survey the damage- they just done pissed off the wrong motherfucker. Carlin is then recruited by FBI Agent Paul Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer) who has access to a very special machine called Snow White that allows you to see three days into the past- from any angle. The plot was OK, but at least it was a slight twist on the usual action bollocks. Denzel Washington was good, but wasn’t exactly stretching himself. Same goes for Val Kilmer. I did like Paula Patton’s turn as Claire though. She didn’t irritate at all in a pretty much thankless role.

Déjà Vu is a strange film. There is a good central idea in it, but it’s not entirely sure what to do with it, so it tries everything. It’s a clue-finder, suspect viewer and finally a deus ex machina. This isn’t really a bad thing, it’s just a bit wishy-washy. Need a clue? Snow White. Where did the suspect go? Snow White. It’s just a bit lazy. I would have preferred if they used the unique capabilities of the machine to track down evidence and stuff like that.

“We’ve got some unique time constraints.”

Still, Déjà Vu definitely delivers in the action department, including one genuinely inventive sequence which involves Carlin chasing a car from the past in splitscreen. Doesn’t make sense? Watch the film and it will. Déjà Vu is also very well shot, with director Tony Scott bringing his experienced eye to every frame on screen. Trouble is, Déjà Vu is a bit style over substance, even for an action film. I found myself getting a bit bored during the third act and wishing it would stop explaining stuff and actually do something. All in all, Déjà Vu isn’t a bad film- but it’s not exactly that good either.

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