More often, tales of terrorism are showing up on the big screen as entertainment. But are we ready to pay money to see children on a fieldtrip or sleeping babies being blown to bits? Apparently Director Tony Scott thinks so.
Heading across the river to celebrate Mardi Gras' Fat Tuesday, a ferry full of families, school kids and sailors on leave explodes when a bomb-loaded truck is detonated on board. As the bay waters boil with rescue workers and search boats looking for victims, Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) scans for clues to the culprit along a shoreline strewn with the remains of the accident. As an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Doug's expertise becomes paramount to solving the New Orleans' case, especially when Claire Kuchever's (Paula Patton) mutilated body washes up on shore.
To help with the investigation, Doug is introduced to a highly secret surveillance system developed by the U.S. government that allows the user to see into the past. With it, Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer) and his assistants (Adam Goldberg, Elden Henson) can monitor public streets as well as look into the private homes of citizens. (Watching a woman walk around in her underwear and seeing brief topless nudity and bare buttocks as she showers is part of the job's hazards.)
But being able to observe the intimate actions of citizens only makes the knowledge of their imminent deaths more disturbing. As he watches familiar crimes begin to unfold again, Doug makes an untested leap through time in a desperate attempt to change the past.
Graphic portrayals of victims being repeatedly shot at close range, doused with gasoline, burned and mutilated push the film's violence levels. During a shoot out between police and a criminal, one man is crushed between two cars while another is drowned in a submerged vehicle. The script also contains some crude sexual discussion and infrequent profanities.
Although the film's tension mounts as the group of covert officers intervenes in events from the past, audiences will have to suspend all sense of reality in order to buy into the time warp theory. Meanwhile, scenes of Katrina's aftermath and a disturbing (although fictitious) terrorist act may trigger more Deja Vu than some viewers are ready for.