September 25, 2008

Eagle Eye

This whole Wall Street bailout debate
is getting way too emotional

Grade: C –

Director: D.J. Caruso

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis, and Billy Bob Thornton

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

A crackerjack premise riffing on our omnipresent technological age rapidly devolves into a pseudo-political howler in Eagle Eye, director D.J. Caruso’s latest stab at an Alfred Hitchcock revue. Caruso’s last film, Disturbia, sought to unofficially ape Rear Window. This time, Caruso cooke-up a helping of North by Northwest with a dash of The Man Who Knew Too Much thrown in for seasoning

Shia LeBeouf and Michelle Monaghan are strangers who find themselves enslaved by the techno machinations of an unknown, omnipotent force. Matters remain suitably taut while the antagonist’s identity and motives remain cloaked in mystery. Unfortunately, enter a HAL-meets-Skynet supercomputer named Aria, buried deep below the Pentagon, that starts interpreting the clause in the Declaration of Independence about “the Right of the People to alter or to abolish” their government a bit too literally.

Four credited screenwriters slap on layers upon layers of twists and turns in hopes of stumbling upon a sensible endgame. The consequence is mind-numbing and riddled with plot holes, barreling headlong toward a ludicrous climax capped by a laughable, test audience-approved coda. Tack-on half-baked, ham-fisted political invectives directed against the war on terrorism and Patriot Act domestic surveillance, and you have a film geared chiefly toward paranoid conspiracy theorists. Think of it as Hitchcock…by way of Ed Wood, but with a bigger budget.

Neil Morris

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