Deja Vu (2006)
I thought I would give Deja Vu (2006) a look, as I have found a new-found appreciation for the work of the late director Tony Scott whose work never really appealed to me until I received a copy of Man on Fire (2004) which opened my eyes to what this director is about, and its not just action, it’s action with heart and a pace that is matched by what is invested in the characters. Most have indeed been played by long-time collaborator Denzel Washington who here plays a Doug Carlin an A.T.F. investigator of a bombing of ferry in New Orleans.
At first it’s all a straight forward investigation that works alongside that of the F.B.I. in the form of Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer) and Jack McCready (Bruce Greenwood) who are told of a woman’s body that was found on the river bank. For Carlin there is no doubt that she is the key to finding the bomber who killed 541 innocent people for no good reason. From a state that had recently been through more than most would experience in a lifetime when Hurricane Katrina hit devastating the area.
Carlin’s invited into the private world of the F.B.I, to a complex that has secretive as it looks, it feels out-of-place in the action world that Scott creates, we having something out of his brother Ridley’s films. What looks like the high-end in surveillance technology, that we’re told combines all angles of CCTV cameras to give a better image is later revealed to be a wormhole that can see back in time exactly 4 1/2 days. It seems too good to believe at first, as they receive a live stream from the past of the events that lead up to the bombing, which leads to the bombers arrest. However it’s more about the now deceased woman Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton) who is the focus on the search and the technology, giving us an insight into what happens, who this woman was, which becomes much more than a victim for Carlin as he falls for this woman who it seems is beyond saving.
We learn there are limits to this secret technology, in terms of range which forces Carlin onto the road with a clunky gadget that lets the team continue to look back in time. Which leads finally to the arrest of Carroll Oerstadt (Jim Caviezel) that close the case shut. Or so we think. With all the potential of the technology that sent a note that altered the unfolding of events, changing the course of history in the film only slightly. Carlin feels that something can be done to save Claire who is still dead whilst the bomber talks of further attacks. His attachment to the girl through the time he has seen her alive in the past compels him to take matters into his own hands that change the course of events.
The audience sees everything slowly coming together, at times it feels forced whilst others it feels right as all the pieces fall into place making it all work, all have meaning and he gets the girl in one of the maddest attempts to save a life I have seen. A man who places his faith in the now alive Claire to have faith in him, to trust that what he needs as he places her in danger, a major gamble for two people who have never met alive until the closing act of the film.
Through the growing number of Tony Scott films I have seen, this on-screen collaborations built upon a shared idea of faith to uphold ideas, to place them on the line for something they believe needs to happen. The actions are rewarded in the end of all their films together. Washington is Scott’s every-man who goes that extra mile to save the day, and here again once more.