Friday, March 20, 2009

Déjà vu. Have you been there before?

No I had not seen it before. (But I could have had.)
I watched the film Déjà vu last night and it kind of blew me away.
The plot synopsis goes like this. A ferry taking soldiers of USS Nimitz and their families blows up just a little after it sets sail. Investigations reveal it was a terror attack. And while it is great to be wiser after the event, ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) thinks better. With the help of the FBI and what is known as spacefolding technology, they go back in time to reconstruct the event. Till Doug realizes that they could use the same technology to send him back in time to change the course of events.
Simple enough in principle.
We’ve always talked about time changing the course of history. Here’s history changing the course of time. Imagine now going back in time (into a parallel universe) after an event has occurred and changing it to a better or at least a less horrific one.
The whole concept of time being perceived as linear, but not necessarily being so, was not really alien to me. But the way it was portrayed in the film was an absolute stunner.
The beginning is just a collage of shots of the people getting on to the ferry. As you watch it you feel the treatment is to give you an idea of what is happening in and around the ship. But when time comes back a full circle, with Doug Carlin having time-travelled back, the very same collage flashes before your eyes. Déjà vu? Well yes, big time and eerily now you are part of it.
The film moves at a rapid pace between past, recent past and present. Somewhere the present is the future and somewhere it is the past and you get caught in the time warp as much as the characters in the film are till the edge-of-the-seat experience ends with once again an explosion. As a sort of anti-climax there is another déjà vu shot of anxious relatives at the pier. The aged mother. A pair of white knuckles clutching the railing. Weeping relatives. You’ve been there before you think, and sure enough you have.
Denzel Washington is his understated best. Though I can say (and my women friends will agree) that the understatement in the film is when his colleague is asked by Claire to describe him and he says: 6’3. Black. Not bad-looking!
Paula Patton as Claire Kutchever puts in a convincing performance. Wonder why we haven’t seen her too often after this film. The rest of the cast is also convincing.
On a lazy Sunday, I’d like to see the film again. But I am wondering...
Would that give me a feeling of Déjà vu?

1 comment:

bmerwan said...

After reading I felt you were the producer of the movie and tying to get some fiancé to produce your movie...well answer is its an excellent synopsis...I should recommend your name as Film Critic to the times of India....