American in Spain

Movie Review: Déjí  Vu

May 9, 2007

The other night, I watched Déjí  vu, the current best selling movie in the iTunes Store. It stars Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, and Val Kilmer. I'm guessing you've only heard of two of those people. The movie plays on everyone's fantasy of having some superpower, like being able to fly, see through walls, or become invisible. In the movie, the government has invented a device that lets them do all three of these things, only temporally shifted four days in the past. Did you get that? The best example to imagine is Google Earth. What if, instead of maps, Google Earth showed realtime video of the Earth's surface from four days ago, with cars driving around, people walking and talking, etc. And you could zoom down and change perspective to be able to look at anything, or anyone, at any angle! Now imagine that a terrorist attack happened. How would you use this magical device to find the terrorists?

During the entire movie, my inner child was just barely able to hold down my inner physicist enough for me to suspend disbelief and really enjoy the exciting ride of the movie. Just barely. It got particularly difficult when they moved from not simply observing the past to actually altering the past.

The best scene was one where Denzel is driving the wrong way on a busy highway with his right eye, and trying to follow a car that he can see with his left eye through some goggles that let him see four days into the past. An excellent "chase" scene.

The lead actress that you've never heard of has a great career ahead of her if she wants it. She's no Halle Berry, but she's a good actress and she's awfully pretty. Val Kilmer's looking pretty pudgy these days. This film won't get any Oscar nominations, but it's clear that Denzel is in a class of his own. I'd like to see him play a villain once, and not be so darn lovable. Though slightly villainous, his Oscar-winning role in Training Day was still heroic.

So, to conclude, I highly recommend this movie. I even recommend it to people like my mother and fiancé who dislike temporally awkward movies like Memento and Pulp Fiction. For the more scientifically oriented viewers, I do forewarn that it takes a conscious effort to suspend your disbelief...but it's worth it.

Not to mention that it would be worth seeing just to see the special effects they can do these days. Incredible stuff.

You can watch the trailer here.