In his most effective thriller since Enemy of the State
, Tony Scott makes time travel seem plausible. It helps that his New Orleans hero, ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington in his third go-round with the director), spends more time in the present than the past. In order to catch a terrorist, FBI Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer) invites Carlin to join forces. They have the technology to see the past. He has the expertise to interpret the data. Unfortunately, the bomb has already gone off and hundreds of ferry passengers have died. Then there's the body of a beautiful woman, Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton, Idlewild
), that turns up in the vicinity of the blast. Evidence indicates she was killed beforehand. Since the FBI enables him to observe Claire prior to her murder, Carlin gets to know what she was like and finds himself falling in love. He becomes convinced that the only way to solve the case--and prove her innocence--is to travel to the past. But as Pryzwarra's colleague, Denny (Adam Goldberg), argues, "You cannot go back in time. It's physically impossible." Or so he says. Déjà Vu
is constructed around a clever script and executed by a top-notch cast, notably Washington, Patton, and an eerie Jim Caviezel (miles away from Passion of the Christ
). In shedding the excesses of recent years--the sadism of Man on Fire
and weirdness of Tarantino favorite Domino
--Scott re-affirms his rep as one of the action movie's finest practitioners. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Sci-fi thriller starring Denzel Washington. When a ferry filled with crewmen from the USS Nimitz and their families is blown up in New Orleans, Federal Agent Doug Carlin (Washington) is brought in to help with the investigation. He becomes attached to an experimental FBI surveillance unit that uses spacefolding technology to look back a little over four days into the past. While tracking down the bomber Carlin gets an idea in his head: could they use the device to actually travel back in time and not only prevent the bombing but also the murder of a local woman whose truck was used in the atrocity?