‘Déjà Vu’ story not worthy of recollection
December 7, 2006
Denzel Washington must love playing cops. He’s done so many cop roles that he could probably be one in real life if this acting gig doesn’t pan out. In “Déjà Vu,” I was pleasantly surprised to see that Washington’s cop character, a member of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), was less surly than his other cop personas and better acted than most.
Doug Carlin (Washington) is called to the scene of a ferry explosion in a still-devastated, post-Katrina New Orleans. As an agent for the ATF, it is his job to find what killed the hundreds of navy soldiers and their families who were on the ferry.
While investigating, the body of a beautiful Halle Berry look-alike washes up on shore.
At first glance it looks like she is just another one of the casualties of the explosion because she is badly burned, but something doesn’t fit — her body was found an hour before the explosion occurred. Carlin believes she must play some pivotal role in solving the case, and while learning about all of her activities leading up to the time of the detonation, he falls in love.
The FBI, headed by Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), brings Carlin to the base that has been set up to work on terrorism. The technology used involves surveillance that is extremely high tech. Though I never fully understood exactly how it worked, the FBI researchers had discovered how to ‘fold over’ time and create a wormhole that can see exactly four days and six hours into the past. It’s hard to imagine when these researchers had time to do all this work in quantum physics when (if you look closely at the computers in the background) all the screensavers on their monitors are close-ups of women wearing silky black bras and undies.
Carlin decides to take the technology one step further, and instead of just looking into the past, he transports himself back, not only to save the ferry, but the woman as well.
Catching the terrorist (Jim Caviezel) proves more difficult than expected, and Carlin fails. Again, I am no expert on how time travel works (especially in Hollywood), but every time Carlin fails (i.e. dies), he gets to go back and try again until both the girl and ferry are safe.
They do not come out and say this outright in the movie, but it is the basis of the plot as well as the feeling of déjà vu.
For example, at the beginning of the movie Carlin is walking around a ship deck where all the body bags are being lined up. His cell phone rings, but when he pulls it out of his pocket the sound is not coming from it, but from inside a body bag.
This led me to only one logical conclusion — that the person in the body bag was one of his “failed” selves, only he didn’t remember it. Does that make sense?
I might have to see this one twice too.
I didn’t mind the whole “go back until you get it right” scenario because it has a lot to say about the power of faith and divine intervention. Maybe scientific theories don’t have all the answers. However, considering the intensity of the film, I thought it could have been a little more “Donnie Darko” and a little less “Run, Lola, Run.”
Jenna Lee is a student at UW-River Falls.