Deje Vu (Blu-ray)
It doesn't take long before Carlin finds out that the surveillance system is more than simply the latest in spy satellite technology. It can look in on past events, within a limited radius of its location, in remarkable detail. But it can only begin its surveillance at four days, six hours, and a few minutes back, and must run continuously from that point to the present. If you stop and start over, the clock starts again at the same four-plus days back from the new start time.
In other words, think Enemy of the State on TiVo'ed steroids. That's the premise that drives Dj Vu, and it's either one of the most clever time bending/time travel films of recent years or a confusing mess. Take your pick.
The problem with most time travel stories is that they generate irresolvable paradoxes. Some science fiction writers do manage to skirt around them, to a degree. One of the best such efforts I've ever read is Jack L. Chalker's now out of print novel, Downtiming: The Night Side.. I'd love to see it filmed, but it's probably too complex and too similar in concept to Quantum Leap (the novel was published in 1985, years before that TV series first appeared).
The filmmakers do attempt to close the time-paradox loopholes, but they don't entirely succeed. This is a film that demands more attention from the viewer than most people are prepared to give. The irony is the more closely you follow along, the more you see the holes in the plot.
I did enjoy Dj vu, but keep in mind that I'm a fan of offbeat sci-fi movies that were often DOA at the box office (another favorite: the critically panned The Thirteenth Floor).
The film does have a fine cast. Denzel Washington has never given an uninteresting performance, and he doesn't break that string here. The movie is also slickly produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and crisply directed by Tony Scott. While it doesn’t reach nearly the same level as the first collaboration by Washington, Bruckheimer, and Scott, Crimson Tide, that's a long bridge to cross.
Dj Vu will certainly generate strong feelings both pro and con. I can recommend it, but with reservations. It's far from a great film, but it is an interesting and often intriguing one.
I certainly have no reservations at all about the technical chops on display here. The Blu-ray transfer is solid. The photography is often gritty, but there's plenty of crisp detail, particularly in close-ups. The colors are generally muted, but they look right for the style the director has clearly chosen. There are a lot of dark scenes, but they all work if your display is up to the job. The transfer is also good enough to reveal a few surprisingly obvious matte shots. Overall, I'd rate this Blu-ray transfer just a hair below the very best, but that's likely due more to the nature of the source material than the transfer itself.
The sound is outstanding. It's dynamic but at the same time sweet and never grating—a surprising combination for a film heavy with action, including crash-filled car chases. That comment applies even to the plain Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (a 48kHz, 16-bit, uncompressed PCM multichannel track is also included). And while the effects and dialog are fine, the real star for me in the soundtrack is the music mix. It throbs like gangbusters to enhance both the action and the mood, but never goes over the top for the cheap thrill.
Extras here include a "Making of" featurette plus deleted and extended scenes. These features are also in high definition, and while this in itself is an added bonus, it's also a mixed blessing. There are serious motion artifacts on most of the horizontal pans. This is not a problem on the film itself, but only on the special features.
Film: 7.5 (out of 10)…Picture: 9.0…Sound: 9.5
(Reviewed on a JVC DLA-RS1 1080p projector and Stewart Studiotek 130, 78" wide, 16:9 screen, with a Pioneer BDP-HD1 Blu-ray player, Denon AVR-4306 AV receiver with Audyssey room compensation engaged, Revel B15 subwoofer, and Aperion 633-T L/R (newest version), 634-VAC center, and 632-LR surrounds).