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At first, when I discovered that the movie was being made, the elitist gene kicked in. It annoyed me that another classic film (Rear Window) was being given a 'teen flick' make-over, and I refused to entertain the possibility that Disturbia would be anything short of an asinine, tensionless attempt at a thriller; however, my preconceptions were soon crippled.
While I was watching Disturbia I found myself thinking: 'This movie has no right be this good!' I realise this sounds ridiculous, every film should be judged on its own merits, but this is based on a classic Hitchcock film. Don't get me wrong, the Hitchcockian tension is missing; though there is a nice air of mild tension brought about through generic action, rather than the subtle style and meaningful camera shots of Rear Window. Shia Lebeouf and David Morse (especially) help bring about suspense through strong performances; Morse is at his best, giving a particularly unsettling performance.
Disturbia's lighting, camera-work and cinematography also lend nicely to the film's caliginous atmosphere; creating uneasiness through shadows and a sense of unknown. The camera-work is especially tense when shot through the hand held camera, drawing the audience into the action, in essence putting them where the characters are.
The film also moves along at an interesting pace, always keeping the attention and not letting the audience drift off to think about something else. Even when the teenagers are watching Morse's character the story still remains interesting and captivating.
Obviously the ending of the film is a typical Hollywood one. The change from tense atmospheric film-making to fast paced action does take something away from the overall feel of the film, although it is not without its good points; the action is enthralling and there is still a slight sense of the tension (through lighting an camera-work) that came before it.
All in all, Disturbia offers a lot more than one may first think. The atmospheric tension and the strong performances alone are enough to warrant watching the film. If the idea of a Rear Window remake is putting you off watching this film, it shouldn't. Disturbia differs enough from Rear Window to stop a constant comparison, but contains enough of the basic plot line to allow the film a decent story.
Not a must see, but definitely not a waste of time. A solid, highly enjoyable thriller.