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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Denzel and Deja Vu

- Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, and Adam Goldberg ... the time travel task force

This week's movie rental was Deja Vu, starring Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Adam Goldberg, and Jim Caviezel, and directed by Tony Scott. It's a science fiction thriller and is set in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Denzel Washington plays Doug Carlin, an ATF agent who's investigating the bombing of a ferry in which 400 plus people are killed, one of whom appears to have been his partner. When he discovers evidence no one else noticed - that a woman seemingly killed in the bombing actually died earlier at the hands of the bomber - he's asked to join a special task force, one that is using time travel to solve the crime.

The movie is just so-so, kind of B-ish, and the emotional manipulation gets a little heavy handed at times, but it does have some redeeming elements .... I really like Denzel Washington and here he is very good as Doug, and James Caviezel (Jesus from The Passion of the Christ!) is creepily convincing as a psycho bomber .... the time travel stuff is fun, both the science and the special effects ... there are some nice explosions ... and some comic relief - at one critical point in the movie, Adam Goldberg, who plays the time travel scientist, says he needs more cowbell :-)

And an underlying assumption the movie makes is also interesting ... the dead woman's father gives Doug some photos of her, though he doesn't need them for the investigation, because he believes they will inspire Doug to try harder to find her killer. Later Doug watches real-time images of the dead woman going about her life, thanks to the magic of wormhole technology. The assumption I mentioned is that if you get to know someone, you will care about them, and if you care about them, you may change your behavior in ways that benefit them. (Strangely, this is the very methodology of the Spiritual Exercises :-)

At any rate, this assumption is fulfilled in Doug ... he begins to care about the woman and decides that solving the crime is not good enough, but that he must take the dangerous chance of going back into the past himself to alter events and save her life as well as his partner's, and stop the bombing from taking place.

I'd post a review of the film, but Roger Ebert didn't do one - he's been ill and a few prayers sent his way couldn't hurt. The other reviews I saw were not great, but here is an interview with the director, Tony Scott, about the movie.

- Jim Caviezel as the bomber


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