Déjà Vu (2006 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tony Scott|
|Produced by||Jerry Bruckheimer
|Written by||Bill Marsilii
Brian Greene (consultant)
|Music by||Harry Gregson-Williams|
|Editing by||Chris Lebenzon|
|Studio||Scott Free Productions
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
|Distributed by||Touchstone Pictures|
|Running time||126 minutes|
Déjà Vu is a 2006 American crime action thriller with elements of science fiction, directed by Tony Scott, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and co-written by Bill Marsilii and Terry Rossio. The film stars Denzel Washington and Paula Patton as the main characters, with Jim Caviezel, Val Kilmer, Adam Goldberg, Bruce Greenwood, and Matt Craven in supporting roles. Déjà Vu involves ATF agent Douglas Carlin, who travels back in time in attempts to prevent a domestic terrorist attack that takes place in New Orleans and to save a woman with whom he falls in love, Claire Kuchever. Filming took place in New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina. The film premiered in New York City on November 20, 2006, and was released broadly in the United States two days later. The film was released to Mexico and Canada by the end of November, and worldwide by the early months of 2007. It received mixed reviews from critics, and the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes' compiled ratings give the film an average rating of 55%. While earning $64 million in the U.S., the film went on to gross $180 million worldwide; Déjà Vu was the 23rd most successful film worldwide for 2006. The film was nominated for five awards, and won the Golden Reel Award.
On Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, ferry Sen. Alvin T. Stumpf is carrying hundreds of U.S. Navy sailors and their families from the Algiers dock to a celebration, when it explodes and sinks into the river, killing at least 543 on board. Special Agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is sent to investigate the explosion and discovers evidence that the attack was committed by a domestic terrorist. On arrival at the scene he hears his ring tone; the ringing is coming from a body bag nearby. He then meets with the investigating police officers and U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Paul Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), and informs them of his findings. Back at his office, Doug learns about a charred body pulled from the river, that of a Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton). However, unlike the other bodies found in the river, this one was discovered to have been killed before the explosion.
Pryzwarra is impressed with Doug's detective expertise, and convinces him to join a newly formed government-funded detective unit whose first case is to investigate the explosion. With a team led by scientist Dr. Alexander Denny (Adam Goldberg), they investigate the events leading up to the explosion by using a new program called "Snow White", which enables them to look into the past (4 days, 6 hours, 3 minutes, 45 seconds, 14.5 nanoseconds) in detail. The system is limited in that they can only see past events once; there is no fast forwarding or rewinding, although they can record what they see. Convinced that Claire is a vital link to the case, Doug persuades the team to focus on her. While investigating Claire's past through "Snow White", the bomber calls her to try and purchase her car to use to blow up the ferry. Although he decides not to purchase her car, during the phone call the "Snow White" team is able to discover an exact time and place where they know the terrorist will be.
Doug eventually discovers "Snow White" is actually a time window, and is also capable of sending inanimate objects into the past. Despite Denny's protests against tampering with the past, Doug has the team send a note back in time to inform his past self of the time and place to meet and stop the ferry bomber. Instead, his partner Larry Minuti sees it first and, while checking up on it, is shot by the terrorist through his car door. The team attempt to follow the terrorist, who takes Minuti with him, but he goes out of range of "Snow White", Doug then follows him in the present time using a "Snow White" like helmet that increases the range. Doug follows the terrorist to his home, after regaining consciousness.
Using face recognition technology, the ferry bomber is identified and taken into custody. He turns out to be a disillusioned man named Carroll Oerstadt (James Caviezel), who is angry at the U.S. government after being turned down for enlistment by the Marine Corps and Army, who believed he was overcommitted and psychologically unstable. Convinced that the case is now closed, the government shuts down the "Snow White" unit's investigation. Despite the killer being caught, Claire and the ferry victims remain dead, which is unsettling to Doug considering the "Snow White" team presents an opportunity to alter history. Doug convinces Denny to do one last unauthorized experiment: send Doug to the past to save Claire and stop the ferry bombing. The procedure is risky, as until then no human had been sent through, and doing so could mean death to the time traveler. Against all odds, he survives the trip and stops Claire from being murdered in Oerstadt's house. Both of them drive in Oerstadt's SUV and make a stop at Claire's apartment so Doug can tend to his wounds from a gunshot Oerstadt gave him. He asks for specific items, mentioning clothes in her closet and belonged to an ex boyfriend he thought he could wear. She pulls a gun on him, believing him to be a creeper, but after calling his agency to find his true identity, she drops the gun and willingly goes to help him.
Doug goes to the ferry dock and waits for the right moment to board the ferry and attempt to disarm the bomb. He asks Claire to stay behind and alert security of a possible threat, but after Oerstadt finds his own SUV parked outside, he runs back to the ferry, thinking that Claire is following him. She follows him onto the ferry, hoping to warn Doug, who is searching for Claire's vehicle. Oerstadt is killed after a brief stand-off between himself and Doug, who is also trying to save Claire, now gagged and bound at the wheel of her vehicle with the bomb in the back. To save everyone on the ferry, Doug and Claire drive the SUV with the bomb off the ferry into the water just before it explodes. Claire is able to escape, but Doug is unable to get out before the bomb explodes and dies in the underwater explosion. As Claire mourns Doug's death, she is approached by another Doug Carlin, the one from the present, who consoles her. As they drive off, the Beach Boys' song "Don't Worry Baby", which had played at the beginning of the film and at the end before they drive the car off the boat, plays on the radio.
- Denzel Washington as ATF Special Agent Douglas Carlin
- Val Kilmer as FBI Special Agent Paul Pryzwarra
- Bruce Greenwood as FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Jack McCready
- Matt Craven as ATF Special Agent Larry Minuti
- James Caviezel as Carroll Oerstadt
- Paula Patton as Claire Kuchever
- Adam Goldberg as Dr. Alexander Denny
- Elden Henson as Gunnars
- Erika Alexander as Shanti
Background and production 
The idea of a time travel-thriller film originated between screenwriters Bill Marsilii and Terry Rossio, who communicated via email in attempts to develop the plot due to communication difficulties. However, the creation of Déjà Vu's progenitor was set aside by the September 11, 2001 attacks that disrupted New York-native Marsilii, and the advent of the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which occupied Los Angeles-native Rossio. However, by 2006, the two screenwriters had completed the concept, having worked alongside Brian Greene from Columbia University to create a scientifically plausible feel to the script. Greene stated "the way I try to explain wormholes in terms of bending paper and connecting the corners, that's there in the film and it was fun to see that that made it in." The screenwriters submitted their work to Jerry Bruckheimer, who with Tony Scott were searching for new ideas for a feature film.
Principal photography in New Orleans, Louisiana, was delayed following Hurricane Katrina because of the devastation caused by the storm and the collapse of the levees. Many of the exteriors were set to be shot in New Orleans, including a key sequence involving the Canal Street Ferry across the Mississippi River. After the city was reopened, the cast and crew returned to New Orleans to continue filming. Some scenes of the post-Katrina devastation were worked into the plot, including those in the Lower 9th Ward; additionally, evidence of Katrina's impact on the city was worked into the script. The filming crew spent two weeks filming a scene at the Four Mile Bayou in Morgan City, Louisiana.
According to director Tony Scott, Déjà Vu was written to take place on Long Island, but after a visit to New Orleans Scott felt that it would be a far better venue. Jerry Bruckheimer reportedly said that Denzel Washington was "adamant about returning to New Orleans to film after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region", but Washington recalled to be neutral on the subject, while agreeing that it was "a good thing to spend money there and put people to work there".
To create a sense of realism, Scott and Washington interviewed numerous men and women whose real-life occupations pertained to positions in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Washington notes that he and Scott had conducted similar research during the productions of Man on Fire and Crimson Tide.
Visual effects 
Visual effects editor Marc Varisco, who had previously collaborated with director Scott on the 2005 film Domino, worked again with Scott to develop Déjà Vu into a fully-fledged work. In total, approximately 400 visual effects scenes were shot during the production of Déjà Vu. They had acquired a LIDAR device, which incorporated lasers to scatter light with the intent of mapping out a small region, during the production of Domino; Scott and Varisco decided to use the apparatus again during the production of Déjà Vu. Additionally, the two utilized the Panavision Genesis high definition camera to film the shots that would encompass the past that the Snow White team would peer at throughout the film, as well as the various night scenes. The LIDAR apparatus, which was operated by a hired Texan company devoted to the device, performed scans of Claire Kuchever's apartment, the ferry, the ATF office, and actress Paula Patton, among others. Effects editor Zachary Tucker combined the elements created by the Texan LIDAR company with computer-generated graphics to make possible the scenes of time-travel experienced in the film.
The explosion of the Stumpf was filmed using an actual New Orleans ferry in a portion of the Mississippi River sectioned off especially for the event; the occurrence took over four hours to prepare. Under the supervision of pyrotechnics expert John Frazier, the ferry was coated entirely with fire retardant and rigged with fifty gasoline bombs including black dirt and diesel, each one set to detonate within a five-second range. People and cars were added in later as elements of computer-generated graphics. Chris Lebenzon was largely responsible for moving clips from each of the sixteen cameras in place to create the sensation of an extended explosion sequence. The spectacular explosion actually caused no significant structural damage to the ferry; after a bout of sandblasting and repainting, the ferry was very similar to its previous state. The ferry was returned into service four days after the production of the film's scene concluded. During filming of the underwater car scenes, actual cars were dropped into the water; computer-generated effects were later added, simulating the entities' explosions. Compositing was done on the Autodesk Inferno special effects program.
Similarities between Timothy McVeigh and Carroll Oerstadt 
Jim Caviezel's character, Carroll Oerstadt, seemed to mirror in several ways the story of Timothy McVeigh, a domestic terrorist who destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City with a bomb in 1995. Caviezel and Scott did not deny this, and both admitted that the Oerstadt character was at least partly based on McVeigh. Ross Johnson of The New York Times also compared the ferry bombing at the film's beginning to the Oklahoma City bombing.
Déjà Vu opened to mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 86 of 156 professional critics gave the film a positive review, with a weighted average of 55%, while 77% of the audience liked it. Similarly, the website Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average rating of 59 out of 100 based on the reviews of thirty-two professional critics. Joel Siegel of ABC News disapproved of the film on basis of the storyline's scientific elements, as did Manohla Dargis of The New York Times, who additionally found the depiction of parishes decimated by Hurricane Katrina "vulgar". Todd Gilchrist from IGN rated the film eight out of ten, calling it a "bravura set piece", despite an ending that "feels inappropriate given the urgency (and seeming inevitability) of the story's dénouement." Likewise, Michael Wilmington of the Orlando Sentinel rated the film three out of four stars, citing the "good cast, Tony Scott's swift direction, and unyielding professionalism" as rationale for his rating. Kenneth Turan from the Los Angeles Times denoted the film's concept as a "sci-fi staple for generations".
Film writers and director 
Both Terry Rossio and Bill Marsilii acknowledge that the film was not shot the way they had wanted it to be, shifting the blame to director Tony Scott and his goal to focus more on the action aspect of the film than on the more meaningful plot the screenplay had called for. Marsilii, although "quite critical of the mistakes made", said he was proud of the finished product. Rossio, however, was so put off during filming that he, as of May 2008, had not seen the film. Rossio complained that Scott had ignored the inclusion of important plot details from the screenplay whenever "there was something he wanted to do" instead. In the DVD commentary, Scott admits that he thought he did a mediocre job shooting [the chase scene].
Rossio and Marsilii believe that many of the negative reviews of Déjà Vu are a direct result of Scott's direction of the film, and have stated that "Tony Scott added nothing to Déjà Vu and made several hundred small mistakes and about eight or nine deadly mistakes", which makes the film seem like it has many unforgivable plot holes, when it should not have had any. "[T]here are no plot holes at all, and scrutiny reveals the plot to be air tight." says Rossio. "We had years to think of all this and work it out." It was felt there were many misunderstandings that Scott's take on the plot introduced into the film. In his own defense, Scott cited in an interview with Iain Blair of BNET that only nineteen weeks were provided for the production of the film, which "isn't a lot for a film like Déjà Vu."
Box office 
Déjà Vu premiered in New York City on November 20, 2006, two days before its release to the remainder of the United States and to Canada. Alongside Mexico, the three countries were the sole nations to open the film in November. The United Kingdom opened the film on December 15, 2006, and was followed shortly thereafter by New Zealand on December 22. Australia was the last English-speaking country where the film premiered on January 18, 2007.
The film opened in the #3 spot with $20.5 million in 3,108 theaters, an average of $6,619 per theater. Déjà Vu ran for fourteen weeks, staying in the top ten for its first three weeks. The U.S. domestic box office earnings for the film were $64,038,616, and the total worldwide box office earnings were $180,557,550. These earnings made Déjà Vu the 23rd most successful film of 2006 worldwide.
Although reviews from critics were mixed, Déjà Vu was nominated for six different awards, winning one.
Paula Patton, who played Claire Kuchever, was nominated for "Best Breakthrough Performance" for the Black Reel Awards. The award was won by Brandon T. Jackson for his performance in the film Roll Bounce.
Harry Gregson-Williams, the composer of the film's soundtrack, was nominated for the "Film Composer of the Year" division of the World Soundtrack Academy Awards (the award was won by Alexandre Desplat for his score with The Queen).
Déjà Vu received two nominations pertaining to the "Best Fire Stunt" and the "Best Work with a Vehicle", while it won the International Gold Reel Award at the Nielsen EDI Gold Reel Awards ceremonies.
Home media 
Déjà Vu was released to DVD and home video approximately five months after its release in American theaters, on April 24, 2007. In the two weeks succeeding the day of the DVD's release, the film was the second most-purchased entity in the United States. It was second only to Night at the Museum during this period in time.
Special features on the disc include an audio commentary from director Tony Scott for both the film and its deleted scenes. The DVD cover also includes a "Surveillance Window" feature, which includes featurettes on the film's production in New Orleans.
The track listing for Déjà Vu largely borrows music not originally produced for the film; three of the songs that make an appearance in Déjà Vu uphold elements of soul and gospel. "Don't Worry Baby" by The Beach Boys simulated the actual concept of déjà vu, as detailed in the plot.
|"When the Saints Go Marching In"||Traditional||United States Navy Southwest Regional Band|
|"Amazing Grace"||Traditional (John Newton)||Charmaine Neville|
|"Don't Worry Baby"||Brian Wilson, Roger Christian||The Beach Boys|
|"Melt Away"||Alex Forbes, Jeff Franzel, Peter Laurence Gordon||Love of Life Orchestra
(featuring Alex Forbes)
|"Holy Spirit, Come Fill This Place"||Babbie Mason, Marty Hennis||—|
|"Coming Back to You"||Macy Gray, Jared Gosselin, Phillip White, Caleb Speir, Harry Gregson-Williams, Freddie Moffett||Macy Gray|
See also 
- Brian Greene at the Internet Movie Database
- "Quantum Physics Just Strings Us Along. An Interview with Brian Greene, Consultant on Déjà Vu...". fanboyplanet. 2007-05-07. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
- Breznican, Anthony (February 2, 2006). "'Deja Vu' starts production in New Orleans". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
- Roberts, Sheila (2006). "Bill Marsilii Interview, Screenwriter of Déjà Vu". Movies Online.com. p. Movies Online. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
- "Terry Rossio". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
- Compare with "Folding Space and Time Déjà Vu's Best Scene" on YouTube. Alternative. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- "Denzel Washington, Jim Caviezel in Deja Vu Movie". About.com. The New York Times. February 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Titles with locations including Morgan City, Louisiana, USA". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Tony Scott on Deja Vu, Denzel Washington, New Orleans, and Director's Cuts". About.com. The New York Times. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Denzel Washington on Deja Vu, the Debaters, and the Marvin Gaye Biopic". About.com. The New York Times. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Deja Vu: Time Tripping to New VFX Heights". VFXWorld. AWN, Inc. November 22, 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
- Johnson, Ross (November 12, 2006). "'Rousing the Crowd with a Bigger Bang'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
- "Jim Caviezel on Deja Vu, Playing a Bad Guy, and Working with Denzel Washington". About.com. The New York Times. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Deja Vu Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- "Deja Vu (2006): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- Siegel, Joel (November 22, 2006). "Joel's Thanksgiving Weekend Movie Guide". ABC News. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- Dargis, Manohla (November 22, 2006). "Deja Vu (2006) After a Big Bad Boom, Clues Lead Anywhere, Even Back in Time". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Deja Vu Review". IGN. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- Michael, Wilmington (November 21, 2006). "Movie review: 'Deja Vu'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- Turan, Kenneth (November 22, 2006). "Déjà Vu - Movie Review". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- Bill Marsilii (2007-02-01). "Re: well, now that you've brought it up ...". www.wordplayer.com. Retrieved 2008-10-21. "While I am quite critical of the mistakes made, and while I mourn the good stuff that was cut or lost along the way, ultimately I am proud of the finished product."
- Terry Rossio (2008-05-19). "Ouroubourous". www.wordplayer.com. Retrieved 2008-10-21. "I've not seen the movie."
- Terry Rossio (2007-06-23). "Re: Wow ...". www.wordplayer.com. Retrieved 2008-10-21. "Which information Tony used to change what he wanted to change, but ignored when there was something he wanted to do"
- Bill Marsilii (2007-06-21). "Re: I hated that scene as well - but for different reasons". www.wordplayer.com. Retrieved 2008-10-21. "To Tony's credit, he even states on the DVD commentary that he thought he did a mediocre job shooting it."
- Terry Rossio (2007-04-19). "Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes ...". www.wordplayer.com. Retrieved 2008-10-21. "Tony Scott added nothing to Deja Vu and made several hundred small mistakes and about 8 or 9 deadly mistakes."
- Terry Rossio (2006-11-28). "Monty Hall". www.wordplayer.com. Retrieved 2008-10-21. "...there are no plot holes at all, and scrutiny reveals the plot to be air tight. We had years to think of all this and work it out."
- Scott, Iain (November 2006). "'Tony Scott—Deja Vu: the first film shot in New Orleans post-Katrina'". Gale, Cenage Learning. Retrieved 2008-10-24.[dead link]
- "Déjà Vu Release Information". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Deja Vu (2006)". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
- "Past Saturn Awards". Saturn Awards. Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films USA. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Black Reel Awards: 2007". Black Reel Awards. Black Reel Awards. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "World Soundtrack Awards: 2007". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Déjà Vu Awards". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Deja Vu (2006) - DVD / Home Video Rentals". Box Office Mojo. Nash Informational Services LLC. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
- "Weekly DVD / Home Video Rentals, Apr. 23-29, 2007". Box Office Mojo. Nash Informational Services LLC. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
- "Weekly DVD / Home Video Rentals, Apr. 30-May 6, 2007". Box Office Mojo. Nash Informational Services LLC. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
- Murray, Rebecca (2007). "Deja Vu DVD Review". About.com. p. The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
- "Deja Vu (2006) - Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Déjà Vu|
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- Official website
- Déjà Vu at the Internet Movie Database
- Déjà Vu at Box Office Mojo
- Déjà Vu at AllRovi
- Déjà Vu at Rotten Tomatoes