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Déjà Vu (***)
Directed by Tony Scott
Written by Bill Marsilii & Terry Rossio
Principal Cast
Denzel Washington -- Doug Carlin
Paula Patton -- Claire Kuchever
Val Kilmer -- Agent Andrew Pryzwarra
Jim Caviezel -- Carroll Oerstadt
Adam Goldberg -- Denny
Elden Henson -- Gunnars
Erika Alexander -- Shanti
Bruce Greenwood -- Jack McCready
Rich Hutchman -- Agent Stalhuth
Matt Craven -- Larry Minuti
Donna Scott -- Beth
Elle Fanning -- Abbey
Brian Howe -- Medical Examiner
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Déjà Vu Déjà Vu is a smarter film than the previews would lead you to expect, with a strictly defined SF idea the consequences of which are played out according to the rules. A window in time is opened. It reaches four and a half days into the past. If a living thing tries to go through the window, its heart stops. An act of terrorism is committed in New Orleans. Detectives try to use the time window to solve the crime.

There are several clever plot twists that took me by surprise. I've read so much science fiction that I am not surprised very often by movies, and so I enjoyed the film quite a lot.

Unfortunately, the plot is saddled with a couple of Hollywood clichés that weaken it considerably. There is an unnecessarily violent car chase, just because a detective movie needs a violent car chase, and a totally inappropriate romantic interlude, just because a detective movie needs a romantic interlude. Rewrite those slightly, and the movie would be much better. Or, rather, I suspect there is no need to rewrite those scenes. A return to the original script, before the suits put their finger in the pie, would probably solve the problem.

Denzel Washington is a first rate actor who has lately settled for a lot of action adventure roles that do not really stretch his talent, but he is an asset in any picture he appears in. We care about the characters he brings to life on the screen.

Bill Marsilii has, before this film, only written for television, but Terry Rossio has worked on a number of high profile films. I suspect he is a science fiction fan, since his script for The Puppet Masters was almost embarrassingly true to Robert A. Heinlein. His other scripts have been something of a roller coaster ride, up to Aladdin and then down to The Road to El Dorado, down to Godzilla then up to The Mask of Zorro and Shrek, and then down to The Legend of Zorro. He has worked on all three Pirates of the Caribbean films, and I'm beginning to get a feel for what he does best, which is to come up with the logical consequences of crazy ideas.

Copyright © 2006 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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