Sunday, June 10, 2012

Deja Vu. C+

Deja Vu is, like a lot of Tony Scott's work, quite a mess. It's better than the pointlessly ugly Man on Fire, but it's ultimately bogged down by a story that is both preposterous and far too ambitious. After falling in love with Stephen King's simplified version of time travel in 11/22/63, I found my brain being somewhat battered by the dense use of it here. It's not really worth elaborating on, except to say that a ferry has been bombed, and with the help of some advanced technology (with quite a few holes in its explanation), Denzel Washington is able to track the culprit and eventually travel back in time to prevent the catastrophe from occurring.  Yet this is still a Tony Scott film, thus it's exciting in its elaborate construction. Scott relishes in pulling off extremely technical and complicated scenes, as in the chase scene in which Washington is able to follow the bad guy using a mask showing the route he took in the past. Yet Washington can't actually see what's going on, thus he relies on the people in the control room to catch his man. The scene is chaotic, but thrilling, a grand feat for Scott. And that's pretty much the story of the rest of the film as well. It's not pretty, but it's hard not to pay attention. Deja Vu is both familiar and new ground for Scott. It's unique in that it's probably his closest venture into science fiction, but when it comes down to the bare bones, it's same old Tony Scott, with fast cuts, action, shallow attempt at character development, and another Denzel Washington performance that's on repeat mode. Like Scott (or because of him, as they've collaborated on four films in a row), he offers the same old. He's so good in movies like American Gangster and I would like to see him take advantage of his skills rather than go along with what the mass audience expects from him. 

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