‘Deja Vu’ winds its way through complex plot | VailDaily.com

‘Deja Vu’ winds its way through complex plot

Shauna Farnell
In this photo provided by Touchstone Pictures, ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) is called in to recover evidence after a bomb sets off a cataclysmic explosion in " Deja Vu." (AP Photo/Touchstone Pictures/Robert Zuckerman)

So I’m a sucker for time-travel movies (it all began with Michael J. Fox and the flux capacitor). I guess I’m also a sucker for films that prompt the viewer to kick his or her brain into gear long after the credits are gone and, if this is the case, may even adopt a generous sense of dismissal for such films even if their endings shape out to be inconsistent if not hokey. Like it or not, nobody can deny that “Deja Vu” didn’t have them on the edge of their seats and paying close attention.Who knows what else could compel an English creative writing major to suddenly take an interest in the space-time continuum (albeit an interest that only lasted the two seconds before stumbling across indecipherable verbiage about Euclidean theories and four-dimensional curvatures). Then, there are some people who don’t like movies that force them to use their brain. A lot of people go to movies specifically to avoid this very thing.

But even those with a simple predilection for action-explosion fare will enjoy Tony Scott’s (see “Man on Fire,” “Enemy of the State,” “True Romance” and “Top Gun”) latest direction.Beginning with his trademark flash cardesque, blurred, text-over cinematography, Scott opens the New Orleans-bay setting with – also not uncommon for him – a ghastly explosion. When a terrorist detonates a bomb on a Navy ferry, ATF officer Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington), in a role not dissimilar to the body guard he played in “Man on Fire,” arrives on scene to solve the case.When Carlin further investigates the cause of death behind one of many partially burned bodies that turns up in the sorrowful aftermath, he discovers that the death of this woman, for whom he develops an immediate fascination, and the explosion on the ferry that has killed hundreds are inexorably linked.

When his talents are embraced by an FBI search team, Carlin is given privy to new physics-defying, confidential technology that allows him to trace back the life of the dead woman four and a half days before she is killed.What all begins as a jolting yet somewhat standard action thriller, suddenly becomes an impressively developed science fiction escapade.Even those in the audience who came for the Rambo sequences won’t be disappointed by the twist the plot takes. Whereas a director like Quentin Tarantino might take the cast of a perfectly suitable action film and transform them all into blood-thirsty vampires, Scott’s insertion of the sci-fi theme does the rest of the film (which could otherwise be lopped into just the non-memorable Hollywood bulletin of car-chase explosion flicks) a great justice.

Although it doesn’t always work and can even, if the filmmakers aren’t careful, insult the viewer, it’s sort of nice when unexplained details of a plot suddenly come together.Although it has it’s share of blood, violence and death, “Deja Vu” is more than big action for big action’s sake.While hopefully not giving any potential terrorists any new ideas, “Deja Vu” will send more than one thinker fishing for wormholes.

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