Last night, I took a break from screening submissions and hopped into a preview of Tony Scott’s Deja Vu, starring Denzel Washington. Opening today nationwide, it’s another winning collaboration between Scott and Washington (though I still feel their Man on Fire is the best work they’ve done together). Tony Scott allows his recent splurge in visual flair (arguably riffed from Fernando Meirelles’ City of God) to take a backseat, and instead of layering colors, sounds, and images, he layers the narrative in this time-bending thriller.
The product is a highly entertaining and unusually taut action film that asks the audience to wholly suspend disbelief for a premise that reminds us of Peter Hyams’ Van Damme vehicle, Time Cop. No joke. But, this is way better than Time Cop. Is it Time Cop 2? No, they made that movie already, starring Jason Scott Lee.
Deja Vu has the body of a big-budget, cat-and-mouse thriller yet manages the heart and soul of a sci-fi fantasy film. In this regard, it harkens back to John Woo’s Face/Off, which has much of the same genre-mixing. Throw in a reliably solid performance by Denzel Washington, remarkable use of post-Katrina New Orleans as a backdrop, a pretty tight screenplay… and you have a good night at the movies. As some of the early reviews have indicated, there is a twist ending, but it’s not Sixth Sense territory. It’s merely a representation of what a logically-minded, time-travel tale Deja Vu ended up becoming. Have you seen this film already? Yes, but it’s still worth revisiting.