Spoilers: Déjà Vu's terrible ending and major flaw
Okay, so here's the post that's going to go into very serious spoilers for the ending of Déjà Vu (Filmstalker review) and discuss why the whole film, which was running close to a five rating for the majority, dropped to a two in the last five minutes. I'm also going to point out the biggest flaw in the whole idea that just kept coming back to me and making me wonder why they didn't try it just once.
To save you all though, none of this is in the opening blurb and it's all in the main story. So if you came directly to this page, look away before you read any further, if you're reading this from the feed or through the front page, don't click on the link. That is, unless you want to know.
So, let's just talk about the big issue that kept popping up in my head throughout the film, oh and this is your last chance, this is filled with spoilers that will give away the ending and the twists.
The special team keep talking about how they can only see the exact moment four hours in the past, no other time, they can't go back further or forward, they get one chance. Except they don't. When they discover that they can send a note back those four hours the simple option is revealed, and it really is simple. I'm sure if you didn't think about it in the film you've suddenly thought about it now.
If they watch an event four hours in the past, they can just write down the relevant information on a piece of paper and return it to their own lab four hours in the past. The note would simply have to...
- Prove that the note comes from themselves in the future
- Explain how to return a note
- Describe what they have learned watching the past event
- Tell them to watch the event with this added knowledge, or if they have enough knowledge stop the event. If they don't know enough yet, watch it from another aspect, learn some more, add to the note and send it back again
They receive the note and have accumulated knowledge. So actually you would never be bound by watching one event precisely four hours ago because you could keep sending notes back in time to yourselves. This would allow them to continually attempt to save Minuti, the boat, Kuchever and even Carlin himself, without ever having to send someone back in time.
That just struck me like a brick whenever I saw something related to the time window. However, it wasn't ruining the film for me as suspension of disbelief and all that. However, the ending really did ruin the film, and this is where I feel that the scriptwriters had spent so much on the cleverness of the rest of the film and then returned to stock conventions for the ending.
I'll skip the petty part about why Oerstadt doesn't just shoot the girl and shoots everyone else in is way and leap right onto Carlin and her in the car with all the guns pointed at them. When we saw the bomb in the opening sequence the single boat employee saw the bomb in the back and recognised it, surely Carlin could have pointed them all to it, but he doesn't. Instead he sits in there, has a discussion with Kuchever, visibly engages the vehicle in drive and gives them all plenty of time to shoot them, even before the car takes off, yet no one does. Even when it takes ages to leap off the end of the boat.
Okay, past that one. While they are underwater Carlin manages to remove the steering column from the car with his bare hands, kicks out the windscreen for her to escape, and when the roof gets bashed in by the underside of the boat to stop him escaping he finds he can't break open the side windows. Try as he might with the palm of his hand.
Never mind that though, because at the same time Kuchever is managing to swim herself away while she still has her wrists taped to the heavy steering column, unable to move them, and she's swimming straight to the huge churning propeller of the boat. Amazingly, despite the size and power of the propeller in the water, she manages to swim inches past it with just her feet kicking, and the weight of that steering column attached to her bound hands.
So let's skip the part where she's rescued in seconds, and move onto where she is rescued and being looked after by the police awaiting the "now" Carlin to arrive. She's being treated well and when Carlin arrives he just smiles, puts her in the car and drives away from the crime scene. The scene where in the opening he spent what seemed like days examining, sniffing residue on bridges, picking up minute pieces of plastic, and so on. He just puts her in the car and drives off smiling and being nice just like the other police.
This is the person found with a steering column attached to her bound wrists, rescued from the water just before the car exploded, and witnessed by the armed police onboard the boat actually in the car before it drove off and exploded. Excuse me a moment, but doesn't that make her a prime suspect? If not the main witness? Wouldn't they treat her with a little more security, immediacy and haste? Not just allow her to sit there nicely, make sure she's happy, and let her have the chance to wonder off herself?
This all just struck me as contrived and of shoe-horning the story into the last allowable few minutes. I really do wish they had spent as much time on the ending as they obviously did with the rest of the story, because the rest of the story was so well written and put together.
Those were my gripes. Perhaps most people were utterly accepting of the farcical and contrived ending than I was, but honestly when these moments all occurred in quick succession I groaned audibly with disappointment.