I’m always up for an action suspense time travel film, and Deja Vu, starring Denzel Washington fits the genre. However, it is not the prototypical time travel flick like Back To the Future, The Time Machine or Timeline.
Set in New Orleans, Denzel plays an ATF agent. A ferry full of American sailors on leave gets exploded in a 9/11 type of disaster that definitely was made for the big screen. Denzel than struggles with other law enforcement agencies to get a handle on the cause of the disaster, and round up some suspects. The breakthrough of the case occurs when a secret unit that can look four and a half days into the past gives a glimpse into what happened.
I don’t think that this is like other time travel films because here we have a limited window into the past, and don’t travel into some long forgotten time like is the usual for that type of film. They also set it up that we can only see one area at a time, and cannot save anything else because it is too much data (I guess they never heard of video compression, or terabyte hard drives, but hey it’s a film). By following what occurred that led up to the ferry disaster, we follow Denzel as he does his best to try to prevent this great calamity from happening. Eventually he must send himself back in time, and take matters into his own hands working outside of law enforcement to get the job done.
While I often like Denzel Washington’s work, and he acted well in this, I don’t think this was his best film. The plot gets confusing at times as clues from four days age intermingle into the present. It is also paced a tad too slowly for an action adventure film in the middle, that seems to drag on at multiple points explaining the time travel theory in more detail than necessary to understand the movie. Still, it does have some big budget action, even if they skimped on the editing. Go ahead and enjoy Deja Vu, but if you want a really good Denzel Washington film, rent John Q Public which is a better story.
Overall Grade: B