Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Eagle Eye [The Review]

Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) is a Stanford drop-out who can’t pay his rent and works by day at a copy store. Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) is a single mother fussing over her young son’s rail trip to play trumpet at a big Washington event on Capitol Hill. Out of the blue, both individuals receive phone-calls from a mysterious woman who seems able to monitor their every move, and who appears to be co-opting them, against their will, into a secret service operation of terrifying obscurity.

With a surprising No 1 box-office ascendancy on its opening weekend, Eagle Eye seems to have gripped the public imagination with its lowering sense of high-tech paranoia; perhaps Joe Public is over-impressed by the presence of Steven Spielberg as a producer. It’s true that director D.J. Caruso (paired again with his leading man from Disturbia) has an eye for the dizzying detail, and for much of this movie you forget how extraordinarily dumb the script and the premise of the script really is. It looks amazing. Over and over again, you get involved and drawn in by the pulse and sheer kinetic force of the visuals. But if I was to tell you that the main plot point revolves around the combination of a child’s trumpet and an exploding diamond, you may get some idea of just how silly this film is.

Shia LaBeouf is in almost every scene and plays it like an untrained, reluctant Jack Bauer. If anything Eagle Eye proves just how influential the TV show 24 has become over the years. The jury is still out when it comes to his leading-man status; personally I don’t think he has either the looks or the star-quality or the acting chops. Michelle Monaghan similarly plays it like a tv show and behaves for much of the time like a needy, nagging wife, in something of a throwback to helpless femmes in action movies of the 1980’s. And just who is the mysterious woman who keeps calling them on the phone, and who does she represent? Well, I won’t spoil it for you but I will give you a clue – this uncredited actress sounds a bit like Majel Barrett on Star Trek.

In a recent piece of most unwelcome news, it seems that one of the scriptwriters of this thriller, Travis Wright, is developing a sequel to Bladerunner. Let’s hope someone else, who has a firmer grip on plot development, and crafting credible and emotionally-resonant scenes, is drafted in before this bad-idea movie ever gets made.

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