Sep 2008 26

The new film from D.J. Caruso is a solid action/spyish/thriller that would have done better service to itself if it had just been a bit more original.
Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) is a Copy Cabana employee, he is struggling to make rent, and he has just found out his twin brother has died. Rachel Hollman (Michelle Monaghan) is a divorced mom who has just sent her son on a school trip to play a show at the Library of Congress. The two have never met and have no relation but are about to spend the next 48 hours on the run for their lives, and the lives of others. Jerry becomes activated when he goes to the ATM to deposit a check from his parents only to find his bank account full of thousands of dollars. To go on top of this, he arrives home to find his apartment full of weapons and bomb making materials before receiving a phone call to flee his apartment in 30 seconds before the F.B.I. raids his house. Confused, Jerry does not make it out and is put into custody. Rachel, on the other hand, is out having some drinks with her friends when she receives a supposed call from her son only to find the same voice that called Jerry on the line, threatening her son’s life if she does not comply with her instructions.
The two are eventually thrown together, and I have summed up everything you would find in the trailer, and to spoil more would be a disservice to the excellent advertising that doesn’t give it all away, so I won’t either! The film from here is filled with a series of car and foot chases and twists here and there that the filmmakers keep smartly tucked away. The twists, while never incredibly shocking, are fairly clever and Caruso does a good job of tossing in red herrings along the way. The director also does a nice job of keeping you on your toes and keeps his cards close to his chest making you wonder how it is all going to play out.
Now, I wish I could go into the blatant unoriginality of a lot of the proceedings, but that would give way to much away. But, when you see it, you will know what I am talking about and know I am not talking about the big brother similarities to Enemy of the State. The most disappointing thing about the film is that it couldn’t come up with a more original plot device for the film, as Caruso does a very good job with the action and effects and it would be great to see that applied to something that feels new instead of a display of great execution at creating a bit of a run of the mill action/thriller.
The actors all do some good work here as well, and that contributes to the film being very entertaining even though it might not be the most original picture. Shia plays the role a bit more serious than his recent efforts and that is a good thing. He handles the action well and is very convincing as the fleeing bystander, and he should be since it is kind of a similar role to Transformers. Michelle Monaghan also does good work as a desperate mother willing to do just about anything to protect her son. She has good chemistry with Shia and they work really well playing off one another. Billy Bob Thornton plays a hard nosed and hilarious F.B.I. agent who barks order and fires quick quips at the underlings around him. He does a great job and makes the most of all of his screen time. Rosario Dawson is the other big star in the film and she does a fine, but a bit of a generic job as an Air Force investigator that gets mixed into the greater plot of it all. Michael Chiklis also plays a vital role as the Secretary of Defense and he conveys the underlying message of the film that has to do with our government’s actions and handling of affairs around the world.
In the end, Eagle Eye is a solid action/thriller that will entertain from start to finish. The twists are plenty, though one kind of hurts the mystique of the film if you ask me, and while the “help” the two leads tends to get a bit absurd at times, just sit back and have fun and don’t worry about all that too much. The action is great and the actors all do great work, it’s just a shame the writers couldn’t have been a tad bit more original, and borrowed a bit less from other ideas.
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