Film Review: Déjà Vu keeps viewers guessing

If you like Denzel Washington, Minority Report, or just enjoy a good film, take a break from studying this weekend and go see Déjà Vu.

Watching this movie is like putting a puzzle together without ever seeing the box. However, the final picture is spectacular. A ferry holding more than 500 people explodes within the first five minutes of the movie, and the events that follow twist and turn into a maze of mysteries. The art of this movie lies in its ability to keep viewers in the loop enough to keep guessing and out of the loop enough to keep them guessing wrong. Each mystery builds upon the previous one and then opens several more, leaving those who like to predict endings with a hundred-fold paths. The confusion is not so overbearing, however, that it loses the interest of those who just want to enjoy a good movie.

Unfortunately, the plot is too clever to give away in a review. In fact, it is probably best to go to this movie without having read any of its premise. That said, the plot of Déjà Vu will appeal to any movie-goer with a love for thinking and entertainment. At its core, this film is a suspense thriller in the realm of action and science fiction. Rest assured, it is kept from getting to heavy with humorous quips and a touch of romance. Running just over two hours, the plot develops at a steady pace without a dull moment. Every line in the movie is intentional, although this may count as a flaw for viewers who didn't go to the bathroom beforehand or aren't in the mood to pay close attention.

The characters are also well-developed, even if they are a bit removed from reality. Washington plays Doug Carlin, a typical hero and all-around good-guy. As it often turns out in this kind of film, the protagonist could benefit from at least one human flaw. On the other hand, the technology, the events, and the overall story of Déjà Vu are about as far fetched as they come. If viewers can suspend their disbelief long enough to accept the plot line, they should have little trouble accepting the characters. Furthermore, the implausible characters are compensated for by the superb acting and catchy dialogue. True to form, Washington is perfect in his role and draws viewers in from his first appearance. Paula Patton is a less familiar face, but her acting is equally impressive.

The writing by Bill Marsilii and Terry Rossio creates a nice flow within the complex sequence of events, and the dialogue is witty and energetic. The director Tony Scott also does an excellent job of captivating the audience from start to finish. Insofar as leave possible, the plot itself feels realistic. The creative thinking behind it keeps it in reach of the imagination, and Scott's delivery of it keeps it interesting and original. Scott and Washington have worked together before to create the award-winning Man on Fire, as well as Crimson Tide, so it should come as no surprise that this movie is so compelling.

Déjà Vu has its share of flaws, but most of them are minor. The film faces one or two logical contradictions, but that's almost unavoidable in a story of this nature. For the most part, this movie is engrossing. It begins with a bang, takes the viewer farther off the edge of his seat throughout, and the tension is palpable by the time it reaches the climax. The last twenty minutes are riddled with surprises and "Ah-ha!" moments, all leading up to a very satisfying conclusion. The movie, which is set in New Orleans, ends with a thoughtful dedication to the victims and survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

Déjà Vu doesn't fail to deliver, and is a must see for any stressed student looking for a good movie-going experience.