Sunday, November 23, 2008

'Eagle Eye' flys high

**1/2 out of ****

What if the government is watching you read this review right now? Listening to your conversations through your phone’s speaker, looking at you from your webcam and following every move you make through your cell phone’s tracking device. This is the essence of the thriller Eagle Eye which lacks the anxiety of the idea that technology is surveying you everywhere.

Everyman star Shia LaBeouf (Transformers, Indiana Jones 4) leads; reteaming with director D.J. Caruso (Taking Lives, Two for the Money) who put him on the map with the modern-day revamp of Rearview Window, Disturbia. Borrowing and modernizing elements again from Hitchcock (this time North by Northwest) and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Caruso makes a thoroughly entertaining thriller that dabbles more into action than smarts.

Jerry Shaw (LaBeouf) is a Stanford dropout who works at Copy Cabana, living in the shadow of his identical twin, Air Force Cadet Ethan (LaBeouf, again).

Getting a call from his mother that his twin was killed in a traffic accident, it isn’t long after the funeral that Jerry gets another fateful call. Coming home to find his apartment filled with terrorist weapons, Jerry gets a phone call from a mysterious woman to flee his apartment and if he doesn’t obey, he will die.

Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) is an overworked paralegal who sends her son (Cameron Boyce) off by train to perform at the Kennedy Center. Shortly after, she gets a call from the mystery woman. Rachel is told if she disobeys, the train her son is on will be derailed.

Slacker Jerry and divorced mother Rachel get paired together on the mystery adventure by the phone calls. Realizing whoever is pulling their strings somehow sees every move they make. Making traffic lights go from red to green, surveillance cameras going blank and machinery operate robotically (that’s only the tip of the iceberg).

Shia LaBeouf once again gives an outstanding performance, showing that he can carry a movie, going the extra mile to make a fully-developed character. Michelle Monaghan (Mission: Impossible III) has a motherly element towards Jerry while unselfishly going on with the requests to save her son.

Billy Bob Thorton is an FBI Agent and Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Rent), playing an Air Force Investigator, round out the talented cast, trying to track down Jerry and Rachel. Julianne Moore goes uncredited as the threatening monotone voice that stipulates the instructions over the phone.

D.J. Caruso fills Eagle Eye with edge-of-your-seat car chases and action sequences that have you enthralled. When the action stops, the plots ridiculousness seeps through and the hokey ending is disappointing for the film that started off strongly. Perhaps executive producer Steven Speilberg and the many people (John Glenn, Travis Adam Wright, Hillary Seitz and Dan McDermott) that wrote the film’s screenplay are to blame for the plot going from engrossing to unnecessarily dense.

Alive with fun, solid performances, adrenaline and intrigue Eagle Eye will certainly have your eyes glued to the screen.

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