Sunday, June 10, 2007

DVD Review: Deja Vu

Denzel Washington stars as an ATF agent caught up in a terrorist plot to kill hundreds of people in New Orleans. This was almost a good movie. The back cover of the DVD promised a plot twist, and by golly, for once this promise delivered -- I was genuinely surprised. The scientific explanation sorta, almost worked. There were also some good action sequences.

The nitpicks: I'm getting a tired of the over-exposed colors or whatever that weird technique is for creating a "gritty" feel in movies. Also, the mournful, distant piano-plunking soundtrack has had its day -- please, can we go back to rich, orchestral soundtracks?

*** minor spoilers ahead, but plot twist is NOT revealed ***

Now, for the big beefs. The hero is an ATF agent. Denzel Washington I can always buy as a good guy, but I've heard too many real-life stories to believe the average ATF agent is working for the public good. The bad guy -- the ruthless terrorist who blows up a ferry with 500+ people on board -- is a lone young, white male of no discernible belief system. I wasn't sure what the message here was. I was anticipating the worst after we saw that there was a "support the troops" yellow ribbon thingie stuck on the guy's Chevy, and a "support the troops" sticker on a cabinet in his terrorist bomb-making workshop. Then he spouts off things like, "freedom requires sacrifice" and "the tree of liberty needs to be refreshed with the blood of tyrants." Yeesh. But it all amounted to nothing. We learn he was rejected from the Army and the Marines, because he was "over-dedicated" or "over-motivated" or something. So what was his problem with society? What were his beliefs, his creed, his ambition in life? What did he think he would accomplish by blowing up 500 people (most of whom were Sailors and Marines, incidentally)? We never find out. He's just a white man with a grudge. He supports the troops, but he tries to kill hundreds of them for no apparent reason. So maybe it's all in the name of revenge, because the armed forces didn't want him, but this was never made clear.

Bottom line: worthwhile for a neat plot twist and good action, but overall the plot is a mess. Also, seems like a big, wet smooch to the ATF. Blech.


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