out of Five
Running time: 128
Its premise is as intriguing as it is ridiculous, but Deja Vu is overblown, far too long and fatally dull for long stretches of time, despite building to an exciting climax.
What's it all about?
Denzel Washington plays ATF Agent Doug Carlin, who's brought in to investigate a horrific bombing on a New Orleans ferry. Soon he's being recruited by a mysterious team of FBI Agents (headed by Val Kilmer), who inform him that they have a surveillance machine that can see three days into the past.
Surprisingly, the machine works and the team use it to track one of the victims (Paula Patton), who seems to be involved in the bombing. After discovering the killer's identity, Denzel starts to wonder if he might be able to send back a message that will save the girl and stop the bomber.
The premise is utterly ridiculous and it's to Washington's credit that the entire film isn't laughed off the screen immediately. Aside from being as watchable as he always is, he brings an air of committed sincerity that the film doesn't really deserve.
Jim Caveziel is superbly cast as the bomber and there's strong support from Adam Goldberg (as the obligatory wise-cracking team member) and Paula Patton. However, Val Kilmer is completely wasted and is given almost nothing to do.
Apart from an occasionally laughable script and its ridiculous premise, the film's main problem is that it's a good hour too long and there's a lengthy, tedious section involving Denzel's partner that could have been cut out completely.
Scott directs with his customary overblown style but he never really has fun with the premise and fails to really exploit it. That said, the film does build to an exciting, superbly-edited climax, but by that point it's a case of too little, too late.
Time-travel gimmick aside, the title is apt, because it feels like we've seen all of this before. Disappointing.