"If you thought it was just a trick of the mind, prepare yourself for the truth," promises the tagline for Déjà Vu. Yet if the movie's fantasy premise purports to offer an "explanation" for one of those nagging, inexplicable impressions we sometimes get, it isn't so much the sense of something having happened before, but rather the creepy feeling that somehow, even in our most private moments, we are being watched.
True, Déjà Vu deals with timelines revisited, events seen and reseen from different points of view, and ultimately the growing sense that all of this has been before. Indeed, the film involves some of the most intricately interconnected time-bending plotting seen in years, with a tightly looped storyline that carefully sets up a long chain of dominoes that have already been toppled. "You don't have to do this," a character tells ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) at a critical juncture, to which he replies, "What if I already have?"
Even some viewers may have a feeling of déjà vu, what with odd bits of God talk and spiritual references juxtaposed with fingers being lopped off, duct-taped faces and prisoners with hands affixed to steering wheels, a kidnapped damsel in deadly distress, and deadly explosions, all in a hypercaffeinated Tony Scott thriller starring a sunglasses-wearing Denzel Washington, set in a down-and-out Mexican/Gulf area city, and featuring a quasi-christological climax.
No, it's not the odious Man on Fire all over again—fortunately, it's quite a bit better than that. To begin with, this time it's the bad guy blowing people up, which is always a good thing. Beyond that, Déjà Vu pursues its science-fiction conceit to some nifty ...1