Just as the title stems from the psychological, the plot of this thriller is anchored deep in the unbelievable and is definitely not for the cynics out there. Director Tony Scott and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have collaborated before, on such films as 'Enemy of the State' and 'Top Gun', with Bruckheimer also producing various episodes of 'CSI'. Hence, any fans of the above may appreciate this film. On the other side of the divide, any non-believers have just been given a stronger reason to ridicule.
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, terrorism, falling in love with a dead stranger, and time windows - if everything is thrown at the viewer, something has to impact, surely.
Going back to the past to solve a crime is the FBI's intention, but one man wants to send himself back in time to prevent the atrocities from happening in the first place. ATF Agent Doug Carlin (Washington) arrives on the scene just after a naval ship carrying people celebrating Mardi Gras is blown up. 543 are dead. That same morning, the body of Claire Kuchever (Patton), who appears to be a victim from the bombing, is washed up in the river. But her body was discovered just minutes before the bomb blast.
The FBI asks Carlin for help in solving the crime, but Doug, like the rest of us, has a hard time in believing their methods. Using satellite images, infrared, and some mighty genius computers, a time window allows them to see in real time exactly four days and six hours previous. But only once and only from whichever angle they choose. This is the only chance to bring the terrorist to justice.
Carlin believes Claire to be key to events and so their time window focuses mainly on her in the lead up to her death. As the woman, who is now dead, is watched behind closed doors in her last days, Carlin begins to fall in love with her and becomes convinced of the notion that he 'can save her'.
This film, anchored in tough times for Americans, tries too hard to pull at the emotive strings. It also removes the sci-fi genre from the boundaries in which it can be accepted, making some scenes nothing more than a farce. For example, a totally unbelievable car chase with Carlin pursuing terrorist Carroll Oerstadt (Caviezel) down the highway, only the terrorist is driving there four days previous, not now. Unbelievably clever, or stupid? The divide grows.
Inhibited by a poor script, within a challenging plot line, it's hard to appreciate any individual's performance, more a case of tolerating what you see. Denzel Washington takes the role of the cynic, which presumably is for the audience to directly relate to, but his mere cheap smiles are too obvious gestures to pull this sci-fi thriller off.
DéJa View? Definitely not. At best, this is an unsatisfying thriller plagued by the ridiculous.