– Summary –
Director : DJ Caruso
Cast : Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson, Julianne Moore,Michael Chiklis, Anthony Mackie, Ethan Embry, Anthony Azizi, Cameron Boyce.
Year of Release : 2008
Length : 120 Minutes
Synopsis:When a young man and woman are blackmailed into doing things by a mysterious phone caller, it sets in motion a chain of events that will eventually lead them to the White House and the most diabolical plan ever conceived.
Review : Breathless action film, filled with dazzling set pieces and a seemingly carefree ability to escape logic, Eagle Eye is one heck of an adrenaline rush.
Exciting, frenetic and breathless action film starring Shia LaBeouf, the hottest young talent to come out of Hollywood the last few years, Eagle Eyeis yet another expansion on the Big Brother element of Governmental control, spies and technology run amok. LaBeouf plays Jerry Shaw, a slacker no-hoper twin brother to a US military soldier who is killed in a car wreck. Upon returning home from the funeral, he discovers his apartment contains a huge quantity of military weaponry and fertilizer, all good things with which to make bombs. His phone rings, and he’s told that he’s about to arrested by the FBI, who, in turn, bust through his door and do so with abrupt promptness. Pleading his innocence, and seemingly being helped by the mysterious woman on the phone, Shaw escapes FBI custody and begins a massive cross-country chase with the intent of… well, he doesn’t quite know what. What does concern him (and us) is the fact that the woman on the phone tells him he’s “been activated”, something that doesn’t sit well with the anti-authoritarian youth.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan, who many will recognize as Tom Cruise’s girlfriend in Mission Impossible III), a single mother whose son is on a train bound for Washington to play the trumpet in an interschool competition, is also called by the mysterious woman, who tells her that unless she complies with her instructions, the train carrying her son will be derailed. Shaw and Monaghan are forced together by the mysterious woman caller, who appears to be able to control everything from traffic lights to computer files in supposedly secure locations: Shaw and Holloman soon learn that refusing to obey the woman caller is a dangerous and deadly thing to do. Pursuing them is FBI agent Thomas Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton) who thinks that Shaw is a dangerous terrorist, and obviously Holloman is his accomplice. Air Force Spec Ops Agent Zoe Perez (Shaw’s brother worked for the Air Force, so she has a connection to Shaw due to national interest) seems to think there’s more to it than a simple terrorist cell being activated, and digs a little deeper to find the truth. Perez (Rosario Dawson) discovers the reason for Shaw and Holloman (as well as a number of other seemingly innocent US citizens) have been forced to do things they normally wouldn’t is the ultimate gambit from a powerful, incorruptible force that has gone awry, a force that not even the US government seems capable of stopping.
This film is simply a brain-stopping action film, a thriller of the highest order, with red-herrings and double takes thrown into the script for good measure. Not everything is as it seems, and the closer Jerry and Rachel get to the end game, the final act, the closer they get to their own deaths. With the Government looking in completely the wrong direction, they must try desperately to throw the mysterious woman caller off their scent and derail the nefarious plans, lest more people die. Director DJ Caruso, better known for his work on Disturbia (in which he also directed LaBeouf) and The Salton Sea, helms this film with the confidence of a long-time action filmmaker. His command of tone and action is first rate, the pacing and editing ensure you cannot take your eyes from the screen for even a second. Cars crash into each other with a ferocity unseen since Ronin, explosions and carnage fill almost every moment of the film, all with the slick, effortless production design of a major Hollywood film. LaBeouf and Monaghan look comfortable together, a tangible chemistry between them that leaps off the screen, in amongst the destruction, emotional overwrought-ness, and overwhelming sense of unchangeable destiny. LaBeouf is fast becoming one of the more dependably decent actors of his generation, and Monoghan matches him step for step, imbuing what could have been a simple, poorly developed character into one whose emotional journey actually surpasses LaBeouf’s.
So where does Eagle Eye fall over? Where are it’s faults? Given the major plot development in the film, which I am not going to spoil here (and it’s a HUGE one!) it’s hard to find the fault in the movie without giving the game away. Suffice to say, I though the film’s resolution was a little sudden, less plausible than all that had come before it, and the denouement is completely unsatisfying, to say the least. Some of the more technological elements of the film are a little hard to swallow at times (a little like Die Hard 4, as a parallel) but I guess in the interests of storytelling you just have to sit back and accept that this stuff “can” happen in real life. Heck, it’s a movie, isn’t it?
Taking the story of Eagle Eye with a grain of salt, suspending your incredulous disbelief, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy what is a well constructed (if a little unbelievable) thriller. The script doesn’t call for much intellectualizing, as our characters run, drive, speed, crash and explode through the film with breakneck speed and almost inhuman agility. The film’s sense of breathless energy is a credit to both cast and crew, able to concoct a story like this and carry it off with the professionalism we’ve come to expect from major Hollywood studios. I guess that having Steven Spielberg as an executive producer on this film merely adds the required impetus and status to be a great little genre film.
In a nutshell, you could do a lot worse than stick Eagle Eye into your DVD player for an evening of thrills. It’s an exceptionally well made, if highly improbable film, that will entertain from the opening scene to the last. LaBeouf again proves why he is such an upcoming star, and if this boy doesn’t get himself an Oscar soon then there is justice in the world. Eagle Eye is a cracker, and well worth the price of admission.