Sunday, May 20, 2007

Deja Vu: Grade C

Déjà vu (2006)

Denzel Washington, Paula Patten. Director Tony Scott

Time travel movies are fundamentally sterile because of the familiar paradox: if you change the past, its future will not unfold as before, so you will not be in a position to change the past. Nonsense is thus guaranteed. Denzel is an ATF agent working with government technologists who have discovered how to use spacetime wormholes to see the past on a huge video screen. They are searching 4 days in the past for a crazy bad guy who blew up a New Orleans car ferry for no obvious reason. They identify him and arrest him (in the present tense, after the tragedy). But Washington wants to go into the past to save the life of one particular woman. Why? Because she’s cute. The plot does not quite hold water. Unlike Memento, to which it alludes, the logic is not tight. The romance has no basis either. The ATF voyeurs watch the girl in her home, tapping into our webcam consciousness, but of course she knows nothing of her watchers. The gee-whiz technology is well-done (reminiscent of 1998’s “Enemy of the State”), calling out our paranoia about NSA snooping. Denzel is highly watchable, but overall this is a quickly forgettable picture.

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