Deja Vu

One subject that continues to fascinate me is the argument regarding chance versus fate. Is much of our life drawn out beforehand or is it completely dependent on the whims of chance – whether you turned left instead of right or paused to look in a store window (Comrades: A Love Story! – ah, but was that fate?). I go by this second theory in which every life has a million roads that it can go down and every road taken effects many other lives in a different way. A few films have tackled this subject recently as they have depicted a number of alternative lives that could have taken place but for some small thing of chance. Sliding Doors, the excellent German film Run Lola Run and the HK film Too Many Ways To Be Number One all did this in a very interesting and thought provoking manner.

Déjà Vu ventures into the realm of chance versus fate, but unfortunately not with nearly the same results. Though the beginning of the film is promising, the script turns out to be a fairly lackluster love story and the film just trudges along for quite a while before it is resolved. In the end though, the film seems to say that no matter which road you take, fate is there waiting for you.

Nicky Wu and Teresa Lee
The film follows two versions of the lives of Teresa Lee and Vicky Chiu (a well known Mainland TV actress) – who are two cousins living in Shanghai. One day on their way up an escalator Teresa Lee trips coming off and bumps into Nicky Wu, while Vicky then bends over to help and trips up Peter Ho. In the other alternate version, it is Vicky who trips and meets Nicky while Teresa and Peter hook up.
Vicky Chiu and Peter Ho
The film then jumps back and forth between the two parallel universes and shows how each life and relationship would have been played out. The Teresa/Nicky relationship soon fizzles, as does the Peter/Vicky one – but the other alternative life appears headed for a happy ending (for those who believe in happy endings). But the question I kept asking myself was which of these versions was the real one. Though I basically like happy endings, the cynical side of me was hoping that at the end – the film would go – oops – sorry the “real” version was the one in which nothing much happened – but for one little wrong trip all their lives could have worked out well.
Instead though in the end it basically says that no matter which girl tripped – eventually fate would bring them to where they belong. Not that I buy that, but it is a possibility I suppose. Even so the film has very little spark – much of the reason for this residing with the two male leads. Nicky Wu sings a few songs and he sounds pretty good to me – so I hope he is a singer first and an actor second – because I continue to find him so monotonous and uncharismatic as an actor while Peter Ho, who was decent if not great in The Truth about Jane and Sam, just comes off as smug and annoying (and badly in need of a haircut!) in this film.
So I can’t really understand the girls being interested in them in either life! Both the female actresses do a good job, show some life and are fun to watch interact with one another. I much prefer seeing Teresa Lee in this type of role rather than her miscasted portrayals of cops (Big Bullet and Extreme Crisis). Vicky Chiu is a new face to me – but she shows a lot of energy and personality on the screen and creates an interesting character.

My rating for this film: 5.5