Eagle Eye

Eagle Eye

Film review by: Witney Seibold


            Jerry Shaw (Shia LeBeouf) returns from his low-end copy-spot job to his tiny apartment, only to find that it’s stuffed full of guns, passports, and barrels of bomb fixings. None of this stuff is his. A mysterious woman (an uncredited Julianne Moore) calls him on the phone and tells him that the Feds are after him. He is taken to “headquarters” where he is grilled by head agent Billy Bob Thornton. The mysterious voice calls Jerry and tells him to jump from the building, as she has taken control of a crane, and will break open the building. He will die if he does not obey. Evidently, she can see him everywhere he goes, and can control all the machines around him.

            The mysterious woman has also called a single mom named Rachel (the underemployed Michelle Monaghan), and claims it will derail her traveling son’s train if she doesn’t also obey. It’s not long before Rachel and Jerry have teamed up, in a panic, and are being ordered about by the all-seeing cyber lady, or whatever she is. She has a plan, evidently, to kill some higher-up politicians. They also uncover the involvement of Jerry’s recently deceased, go-getter-in-the-military twin brother. The film’s climax takes place in the capitol building.

            Rosario Dawson and Michel Chiklis play government agents of one stripe or another. William Sadler has a small role as Jerry’s dad. Dawson is a pretty woman and a capable actress, but is miscast as a tough-talking type.

            “Eagle Eye,” as you’ve probably guessed from the plot description, is massively stupid. If I were to give away more plot details, much less reveal the Big Twist, it would sound even stupider. It has some very talented people reciting some really dumb dialogue. They each do what they can with their roles, (Monaghan even manages to make Rachel believable – the one piece of believable filmmaking in this clunker), but they have done and will do better in their careers. Even the film’s director, D.J. Caruso, made a much better film last year with his hipster version of “Rear Window,” “Disturbia.”

            I know these questions are dangerous in a thriller, especially one that doesn’t even dip its toe in the sea of plausibility, but here goes: Why does Jerry continue to listen to the mysterious woman on his phone? How can she see everything? How is it she can control trains, cranes, mail services, cameras, and even the kind of red scrolling digital readouts you see in high school cafeterias without anybody noticing? If she needs them to perform tasks, why go to all the technological trouble? Couldn’t she just hire thugs with blackjacks? And, once it’s revealed what her MO is (and I don’t think I’m giving too much away in revealing that it involves Jerry’s twin brother), and why she needed Jerry specifically, is she really that dumb? Are we, the audience, dumb enough to pay money to see this thing?

            Well, I was. And here’s the review. “Eagle Eye” is slick and fast-paced and illogical and dumb. It begins to make comments on the ubiquity of computer and technology in modern cities, but has no morals or lessons to give from its comments. The actors are talented, but all seem to be breezing by in this one. The director did a better job when there was less running and chasing in his movie. If “Disturbia” was his “Rear Window,” then “Eagle Eye” is probably his “North by Northwest.” Perhaps next time, he’ll scale back a bit and do a hipster remake of “Rope” or “Lifeboat,” and really come alive.


Published in: on October 22, 2008 at 8:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

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