It is Mardi Gras in New Orleans and a ferry full of cars and people suddenly explodes and sinks, killing 543. Special agent Douglas Carlin (Denzel Washington) of the ATF discovers evidence of a bomb aboard. With special agent Paul Pryxwarra (Val Kilmer) of the FBI, he examines a body identified as Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton). Strangely, it appears her body was burned and dumped in the Mississippi before the bomb went off.

Pryxwarra is impressed with Doug’s expertise and asks him to join a new anti-terrorist unit. Led by Doctor Alexander Denny (Adam Goldberg), they use a program called Snow White to look into the past. Doug is convinced that Claire is important and focuses on her. The more he watches her, of course, the more he falls in love. She is called by the bomber-to-be, about her SUV for sale, which he needs to place the bomb on the ferry.

Snow White is a time window, but it can send inanimate objects into the past. They send a hand-written note back to Doug’s past self, but his partner, Larry Minuti (Matt Craven) is the one who reads it and goes after the perp. He is killed and Doug blames himself. He ends up using a police car with a portable Snow White inside to chase after the perp four days before. He has to watch the perp driving over roads and bridges on the machine, while also trying to watch present-day traffic without killing himself, but he manages to find his lair.

The bomber, Carrol Oerstadt (Jim Cavieziel) is found by facial recognition and taken into custody. The government shuts down the Snow White investigation, having saved the ferry, but Doug is convinced that Claire should be saved too. Anything alive sent back through the time-device arrived dead, but Doug has himself sent back to a hospital emergency room, where the doctors revive him immediately. He steals a gun and an ambulance and takes off to stop Claire’s murder. Oerstadt blows up his shack and thinks he has killed them, and he drives off with the bomb to leave it on the ferry, but Doug has saved Claire.

They go to the ferry to stop Oerstadt, but he captures Claire and ties her up in the car with the bomb. Oerstadt has body armor and survives a gunfight, but Claire rams him with the truck and Doug kills him with a headshot. Doug drives the truck off the ship, manages to free Claire so she can swim to the surface, but he cannot get out and dies, saving everyone. Mourning Doug, she sees him approach in present time. It was the bombing that made them use Snow White to investigate, and her death that lead to Doug’s Hitchcockian obsession with her. Neither of those things have happened now. Is she the only one who remembers what happened?

The film was directed by Tony Scott, written by Paul Marsilii and Terry Rossio, and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It was filmed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and dedicated to the victims of that disaster. It received mixed reviews and was financially successful. Brian Greene of Columbia University was the time-travel expert on staff. A real New Orleans ferry was blown up in a sectioned-off part of the Mississippi. The ashes of special effects expert Gerard Endler were placed aboard. The villain was partly based on Timothy McVeigh, who destroyed the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995. It was nominated for a Saturn Award but lost to Children of Men. The scriptwriters felt that Director Tony Scott had changed the movie from a well-thought-out SF story to an action story with too many plot-holes. But it is still an intriguing time-travel story and a pretty good actioner.

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