Deja Vu

  • Review Date: April 22, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Violent terrorism thriller isn't meant for kids.
  • Review Date: April 22, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 125 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Authorities lie to Doug to solicit his help; a plainly disturbed terrorist believes his cause (mass murder) is justified to prove that he's fit for military service. On the plus side, the hero is utterly noble.


The film opens with a harrowing scene of a terrorist attack on a ferry (explosion, flames, bloody bodies on fire and floating in water), which is later repeated; weapons include guns, bombs, knives, and plier-cutters; Claire's dead body is seen at the morgue (burned, fingers cut off, bloody); bloody rags in sink; ATF agent shot/burned by villain; lengthy car chase (cars crash and flip); hero shot through windshield; kidnap victim with a bag on head is doused in gasoline (about to be burned); villain shoots guard on ferry; time-travel machine results in violent permutations of traveler's face/figure.


Images of Claire in some states of undress as she's watched by the investigators.


Minor language ("rat's ass").

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Cigarette smoking (by coroner in morgue and by villain during interrogation); quick joke about "smoking hash."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this violent thriller has been targeted more at adults than kids, but some teens will be interested. With the movie's terrorism storyline, it's not surprising that there are explosions, car crashes, fights, and shootings -- which result in burned, bloody, beaten, and drowned bodies. Weapons include knives, guns, bombs, and vehicles. In one scene, scientists and authorities watch voyeuristically as a woman undresses and showers in her apartment. Characters argue loudly and discuss motivations for terrorism alongside religious faith, and in one sad scene, a father grieves his daughter's murder. The language is very tame for a PG-13 film.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

A thriller with a science-fiction twist, DDJJ VU begins with a terrorist attack -- a bomb explodes aboard a ferry carrying Navy sailors on leave. Among the authorities trying to sort out the crime scene is ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington), who's particularly good at reading details. His acute interpretations of bomb residues, bodies, and video surveillance tapes draw the attention of FBI special agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), who recruits Doug for a special anti-terrorism team. Complications arise when Doug learns that one woman's body (Claire) shows signs of the explosion -- even though she died minutes before the bomb went off. The FBI trots out surveillance technology that enables them to observe her last few days, hoping that she'll lead them to the terrorist. Doug quickly figures out that this set-up isn't what it appears to be – the FBI has the ability to "warp the very fabric of space."

Is it any good?


Washington's focused performance holds the movie's various generic and thematic strands together. Doug is certainly an intrepid and even romantic hero, devoting himself to Claire's case. But he's also a believably skeptical detective, and his questions about motives and technologies tend to mirror the audience's. This third collaboration between Washington and director Tony Scott (the others being 2004's Man on Fire and 1995's Crimson Tide) combines elaborate stunts and psychological ambiguities in order to challenge audience expectations.

The effectiveness of this combination is manifest in the movie's characterization of suspect Carroll Oerstadt (Jim Caviezel). His desire for revenge against the U.S. military is at once personal and political, with oblique connections to current recruitment concerns as well as definitions of "patriotism." Such details make Déjà Vu, although uneven, more intriguing than the usual action thriller.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concept of déjà vu: How does it provide a dramatic hook for a movie? What are the characters' different motivations (revenge, self-sacrifice, desire, revulsion, science, faith, etc.)? How do different motivations lead to different results? Families can also discuss the possibilities of time travel. What would you change about your own behavior if you could go back in time? Did you know this movie was about time travel before you saw it? Do you think marketers and producers consciously chose to downplay that angle? Why?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 21, 2006
DVD release date:April 24, 2007
Cast:Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer
Director:Tony Scott
Studio:Touchstone Pictures
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of violence and terror, disturbing images and some sensuality.

This review of Deja Vu was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old August 5, 2014

Incredible action film may be too disturbing for some.

This film is pretty violent and disturbing, and therefore not the best choice for young kids. There gunfights, explosions, and homicide. One character's fingers are removed with pliers. The entire plot relies on violence and terrorism. The language and sexual material (with the exception of brief glimpses of a woman in a shower) are very tame for a PG-13 rated movie. This violent terrorism flick from the producer of "Pirates of the Caribbean," is engaging and thoughtful, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of Denzel Washington, or just action films in general.
Teen, 13 years old Written byFlickChick197 June 14, 2010

Violence, Murder, Bombs and Love: Deja Vu

This action-packed thriller is an awesome production. Denzel Washington plays an agent who is assigned to solve the case of a recent bombing of a veteran ship trip. He also strives to see if the murder of the woman whose body washed up on the nearby shore of which the ship took off is linked to the bombing. The race against time accelerates as he uses high-tech equipment to see through time and operate in the future at the same time. The story is a bit to understand and handle, but the substance is excellent. There is mild profanity and extreme violence. Car races, guns, shootings, crime, murder, you name it. That's why this movie is rated PG-13.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 16 years old Written byourblackego February 28, 2009

Different but Interesting

This movie is different from what you would think it would be, but quite a thriller with plenty of action, Denzel Washington does a terrific job. Good movie


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