Deja Vu (Scott, 2006)

The only Tony Scott film I can think of that successfully melds his shotgun bang aesthetics with potent, carefully observed human themes (guilt, remorse, revenge, longing, loneliness… the beat goes on). Watching the opening credit sequence, in which a ferry load of soldiers and their families are decimated by a titanic bomb blast, I couldn’t help but see Scott as a humanist, not as a showman. It’s strange to write this about such a director normally obsessed with surface visuals, but all the proof you need is in Denzel’s facial expressions, his brilliant mix of shock, sadness, and professional resolve. This might be one of the strangest and most beguiling Hollywood films ever, an example of hop-skip-and-a jump cinema that actually has something to say about the contradictions of fate.

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