MOVIE: Deja Vu (2006)

I’ve been trying to write this movie review for about five days now and I just can’t seem to come up with a description of this film that doesn’t totally ruin the whole thing. I think the reason I enjoyed this movie as much as I did had a lot to do with the fact I didn’t know anything about the plot going in (aside from what I’d quickly read on the back of the box at the video store, anyway). So, I can’t help but think now that anything I say about the story has the potential to detract from the fun for you guys. Which means I should just tell you I loved it and then shut the heck up.

The problem is, I suck at shutting the heck up (as well you long-time readers know!). So, instead, I’m going to assume that based on the film’s title, and the fact you probably saw ads for it on TV when it was in theaters, you are aware that this movie has something to do with the manipulation of time. To explain why I loved this movie without actually telling you anything about the story itself, I’m going to tell you a little known fact about me: I have an extremely strict rule regarding time-manipulation in movies. And any time a movie I’m watching violates that rule, I automatically hate it. It happens often, because my rule is extremely complicated.

The complicated thing about my rule is that it goes a little something like this: the time manipulation in your movie must both make sense and NOT make sense, concurrently. That is, you must make what I deem to be a serious, well-thought-out attempt to explain to me how you are manipulating time and what the ramifications of doing so will be. But the moment your explanation begins to make complete sense, you lose me for good. Because in my somewhat learned opinion, there is absolutely nothing — NOTHING — about quantum physics that can be described by the phrase “makes complete sense,” and so, if your explanation DOES, you’ve gotten something very, very unforgivably wrong.

See? Told you it was complicated. But, now that you know this about me, all I need to say to you about this film is that it did not violate my rule. In fact, it did such a good job at both making sense and NOT making sense, that my Mom and I had to pause the movie about 8 times so we could weave together a few theories and concepts in an attempt to make it all come together while it continued to blow our minds. Quantum physics is sorta like that, you know?

This one is really fun, folks. And it’s got something for everyone — science, mystery, geeks and geek humor, romance, and, of course, Mr. Denzel Washington looking MIGHTY fine, as per usual. Highly recommended! Let me know what you think if you see it.

NOTE: DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want any plot points spoiled.  We couldn’t help ourselves.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre: Sci-fi thriller/mystery

Cast: Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Jim Caviezel, Bruce Greenwood, Jennifer Weston, Adam Goldberg, Matt Craven

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13 Responses to “MOVIE: Deja Vu (2006)”

  1. Trip Says:

    Here’s my rules about time travel:

    If the movie features a character that goes back in time, and meets his or her self then, and if they both end up physically touching and thusly morphing into a tortured screaming melting blob because the fabric of the universe can’t stand contradicting itself…the movie sucks. Oh, and if it stars Jean-Claude Van Damme…it really sucks.

    However, if the movie features the manipulation of time such that there’s a built-in limit that must be worked around as a crucial plot device, it ends up being kind of cool.

    Especially if that plot device also involves a car chase in which the good guy is following the bad guy…but in different time periods, then that’s pretty inventive and cool.

    If the characters use time travel to personally enrich themselves like betting on every major sports event, of course knowing the outcome in advance, then I am living vicariously through them.

    If the time travel involves going way back in time to hunt dinosaurs for sport only to inevitably create a butterfly effect that messes with your future so that when you come back, it’s all frogs, lightning, and hell in a handbasket, then you’re wasting precious minutes of your life and you must immediately rent Phantasm to cleanse your soul.

  2. Alisa Says:

    My theory is that unless you are Steven Hawkings, quantum physics and the Black hole Theory should not make any sense to you and if it makes sense in a fictional movie then there’s a problem. I also have a problem of when movies and shows have the characters meet “themselves” or change anything in the past and nothing happens to the future. I believe that one little thing can change the outcome of any path.

    I liked the theory behind the Deja Vu;I’ve always been a fan of quantum Leap and 7 Days, but I had a big problem w/the fact that the government was able to make a machine that could not only travel back and forth in time, but you could also pinpoint and watch any point in time, basically as if it were a tv show, and that you could rewind and watch it again.

    Meg it looks like we disagree again. LOL

  3. Verna Says:

    I loved, loved, loved, this movie! I had been anticipating it since it came out. However, since I loathe going to the movies(well, not really, I loathe the prices of going to the movies), I waited to see it when it came out on DVD. So, the anticapation alone got me. Plus, it has Denzel Washington! Waht else do I need to say?

  4. megwood Says:

    I’m not sure we watched the same movie, Alisa. Because everything in your second paragraph is completely wrong — your description of the machine is completely wrong, your comparison to a TV show is completely wrong. Were you actually paying attention, my dear? Because the TV show thing in particular (that is, the fact it is NOT like a TV show) was a point they stressed about 87 bazillion times. I don’t want to say more because, as I said, I think the more you know about this movie, the less fun you’ll have discovering the story. But no wonder you didn’t like it — you weren’t actually paying attention when you were watching it!

  5. megwood Says:

    By the way, Trip, I LOVED that car chase scene! I thought that was really brilliantly inventive — never seen anything like that in a movie before. It’s pretty rare to stumble across a movie that has a “brilliantly inventive” car chase scene anymore. For that reason alone, this is worth renting.

  6. Trip Says:

    I also like the fact that this movie isn’t one of those that teases you with time travel as a chance to change the future, only to cop out and apply some arbitrary rule like “the universe says once something happens, it’s etched forever – you can travel, but you’re only an observer”.

    For example, when a character gets to go back in time, and manages to save their lifelong love from, say, a fatal car accident – only to have them taken out 5 minutes later by a falling piano. ARRRGH!

  7. megwood Says:

    I hate that too, so I was dismayed by all the stuff with Denzel’s partner at first (initially, one of the geeks says essentially what you just said — once dead, always fated to die). But I was quickly able to rationalize that away using the actual events in the story — Denzel’s manipulation of time ends up being what kills his partner the second go-around, and that’s not because of fate, that’s because of circumstance. I think he COULD have saved his partner, had they been more careful about the placement of their note. And the geek telling us that no, he had to die the second time too because he died the first time — that was actually a useful plot device, because it planted that little seed of fear in our minds: if the partner “had” to die again, what about the girl?

    Crap, I’m going to go add a note to the original post about how you shouldn’t read the comments until you’ve seen the movie!

  8. carolyn Says:

    i’m psyched you liked it. i thought this was a MUCH better movie than the reviews it got at the time, plus i thought the previews were totally misleading and made it seem like a different type of movie altogether. i liked it a lot.

  9. kuldeep Says:

    Are you interested in writing movie reviews?

    Check-out this opportunity at MoviePress.

  10. Caz Says:

    Hey…. 😉 Did anyone actually think that the film contradicted itself…not only in terms of the quantum physics possibilities as suggested by others…? The scene where an ambulance is present in the Bayou??? in the cabin by the water-prior to the time that the detective is actually transported back in time just does not make any sense if going by what the people working on the government project say or imply. They say that the window only lets them look in to what happened 4 days and 6 hours prior to the present time, so how is it possible that he goes back in time far enough to crash into the building??? I have annoyed my other half enough with this realisation with no appreciation from his side….can anybody else suppport me on this???xxx

  11. megwood Says:

    Oy, it’s been so long now since I saw this movie that I can’t remember what scene(s) you’re talking about. Guess I’ll have to watch it again — POOR ME! 🙂 I’ll give it a rental in the next week or so and let you know what I think!

  12. megwood Says:

    Caz, I finally rewatched the movie today and I’m not seeing the problem you were having with the ambulance. Denzel’s character sees the crashed ambulance at the bayou about 3 days AFTER the explosion (in that wacky chase scene where we’re seeing the present-day timeline AND the past-day timeline at the same time).

    But when he’s sent back in time, he’s sent back about 12 hours BEFORE the explosion. Plenty of time to steal the ambulance and crash it in exactly the way his later-time self sees it a few days later. They never see the explosion in the time machine thingy — they don’t get 4 days and 6 hours beyond it because Denzel goes back in time 12 hours before the window was going to open and changes everything.

    Does that make sense?

    I actually don’t think the film ever contradicted itself in terms of the time travel stuff at all. They did a really good job at covering all the bases without taking it too far overboard. One of the few movies about time travel that I thought actually got it right!

  13. K Says:

    The u can save her on fridge, bloody bandage, and phone call. How can that happen if her finger was suppose to be cut off and dead?
    If she died then no keys to home no bloody stains

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