Jerry and Rachel are two strangers thrown together by a mysterious phone call from a woman they have never met. Threatening their lives and family, she pushes Jerry and Rachel into a series of increasingly dangerous situations, using the technology of everyday life to track and control their every move.
Jerry Shaw is an amiable slacker with an over-achieving twin brother. After his twin dies in an accident, strange things happen to Jerry at a dizzying pace: a fortune shows up in his bank account, weapons are delivered to his flat, and a voice on his cell phone tells him the police are on their way. Jerry follows the voice's instructions, and soon he and a woman he's never met are racing through the city, on to a plane, and eventually to the Pentagon, chased by the FBI. She is Rachel Holloman, a single mom; the voice has threatened her son's death if she doesn't cooperate. The voice seems to know everything. Who is behind it, what is being planned, and why Jerry and Rachel? Written by
Sometime Around Midnight
Written by Mikel Jollett
Performed by The Airborne Toxic Event (as The Airborne Toxic Event)
Courtesy of Majordomo Records, a division of Shout! Factory, LLC
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I think this is possibly the third film this year that has directly involved a higher power turning 'insufficient funds' into a considerable amount, and while this comparison is valid in a sense, that's where similarities end. From the trailers I was imagining Eagle Eye to be a cross between The Matrix and Wanted, but it's not not at all. No, it is neither creatively similar nor anywhere near the same quality. So despite some similarities, Eagle Eye at least delivers an experience that is refreshing, but at the same time familiar. Not much risk-taking is implemented here; there are virtually no new ideas of any kind, and the themes present have all been battered to death in countless novels and films that have frankly done the job far more successfully. Read aloud, the script could easily be interpreted to be a techno-phobe's transcription of a recurring nightmare; the government tracking us all on phones, cameras lip-reading us etc. etc. and for the most part, that is how the movie plays out. While these elements leave an experience that will always have you guessing as to where the movie is going next, the eventual climax of the film boils down to character rather than plot, and as a result of spotty characterisation, the film eventually falls flat. Despite some major issues however, Eagle Eye still manages to retain a sense of spectacle, and the story, although mostly a science-fiction dud for the most part, does move forward at a decent rate. In this regard, the movie makes for good popcorn watching, but not much else.
Following meek photo-copy shop clerk Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) as he takes the road after being wrongly suspected as a terrorist by the FBI, Eagle Eye is standard political thriller material; there's the hard-ass government officials, the misunderstood civilian who is inevitably on his way to save everyone, and the fragile love interest along for the ride in the form of Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan). What makes this feature at least a little more interesting than the cookie-cutter outline of thriller scripts however is that both these lead characters are being led on a mysterious journey across the country by a voice-on-a-phone who has access to all sorts of technology that governs our civilisation from computers, phones and TVs to billboards and alarm systems. Through this voice, Eagle Eye delivers its main theme of technological sabotage and paranoia; Big Brother with ones and zeroes. Of course, it's not the most original of ideas, and the movie's script plays them as obvious as can be with no desire for subtlety at all. As such, the writer's lack of anything interesting to say becomes apparent after the first act comes to an end. As far as science-fiction goes, it's standard thematic material. Again, no real developments or ideas are plugged in here for you to digest, only well established ones reiterated for your brainless entertainment.
One of the script's far more successful elements however lies in the character of Jerry, and his off-screen relationship with his recently deceased brother. Although the movie never transgresses beyond the rather a-typical successful brother/lazy brother aesthetic, the writing is focused and sharp enough to give actor LaBeouf enough material to work with. So far this year LaBeouf has proved himself a highly capable performer, and Eagle Eye does well to showcase his talents here. While his chemistry with co-star Monaghan is almost non-existent, the actor does well to cover up most of the holes in this mismatch, and in his character in order to make Jerry a sympathetic, but engaging persona to watch. As a leading man, LaBeouf still shows some restraint and doesn't ever quite improve on his less-than-charismatic performance in Transformers, but as was the case there, his small image often complements the scope of the movie.
In the end, all the characters and their developed relations do eventually come to an emotionally engaging climax that capitalises on such developments with great conviction. Of course, there's a dud of an ending that follows the real climax in order to provide picky viewers with a bow on top of their cathartic package, but it doesn't hurt the final payoff too much. Taken as a whole however, Eagle Eye certainly isn't perfect but it isn't bad either. For popcorn entertainment, director D.J. Caruso does his job well enough to create an engaging thriller that delivers some action, some character and some plot, even if it all feels a little underwhelming when put together. Anyone looking for anything but fluffy action-orientated thrills driven by mystery and spotty politics would be best to find something else to chew on; mildly enjoyable, but not entirely memorable.
Written by Jamie Robert Ward (http://www.invocus.net)
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