Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Archive: 'Eagle Eye'

Movie Review
Eagle Eye (2008)

Everything that happens in "Eagle Eye" is impossible. That, however, doesn't make it any less entertaining. Even with your intelligence in full tact, you won't have any problem enjoying the ride for the rather overlong running-time. Here's a movie that tosses around the idea that, what if all of our advancements in technology started to work against us? There's a high dose of political matter here involving cyber-terrorism and eaves-dropping, but it's all presented in such a relentlessly hyperactive fashion that it's easier just to get lost in all of the wildly manic fun instead. And it all starts with a phone call.

The call goes out to Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) and, shortly thereafter, to Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), and they are both provided with explicit instructions to follow. They're given by an anonymous female voice, and from that moment, we're basically left to watch two ordinary citizens thrown together into some crazy conspiracy running from everything while frantically answering their cell phones. Now, whoever or whatever is behind all of the phone calls has the power to control traffic lights, track every person's cell phone or other electronic device, monitor through any security camera, and even has the ability to setup perfectly timed rendezvous points. Far-fetched would hardly begin to describe it.

What makes all this nonsense work, though, is that the movie is great at everything the genre of high-energy action thriller could ever require. The chase sequences, which absorb a healthy portion of the entire movie, are surprisingly large in scale with plenty of explosions, deaths, and crunched-up masses of metal flying all over the place. In this respect, it can be sometimes mind-numbing but also very kinetic. I hate to admit it, but I was enthralled by the movie's ability to keep hurtling itself forward through such overblown spectacle.

I was especially drawn into the first half before the government started getting really involved. After that, the plot turns clunky and concludes with a rather preposterous ending. Director D.J. Caruso ("Disturbia") has yet again chosen Shia LaBeouf has his main player, and it turned out to be a good choice. LaBeouf still proves to be a charismatic and likeable hero, and while this performance is nothing new from him, it's effective. Michelle Monaghan, too, does what she can alongside him and surprisingly provides some depth in between trying to catch her breath. Billy Bob Thorton steals some scenes, too, as a bitingly sarcastic FBI agent. The performances help a bit in the believability factor because in the beginning, the actors' characters think the whole situation is absurd right with us, but then, just like them, we're drawn in, and it somehow works.

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