unseen power behind all this mayhem
In all likelihood, the 22-year-old actor with the unusual name Shia LaBeouf (for the record it sounds like “hiya” “la-buff”) will be a major star someday with awards and accolades to go along with his fame and fortune. He has an easygoing charm ? la Tom Hanks, but can also evoke the gritty panic of another of his idols, Harrison Ford. Eventually he will have to learn to be picky about scripts, but he can be forgiven for choosing “Eagle Eye.” The project had Steven Spielberg on board (as Executive Producer) as well as director D.J. Caruso, with whom LaBeouf worked on the blockbuster “Disturbia.”
The cast of “Eagle Eye” is not the problem-costars Michelle Monaghan (“Made of Honor”), Billy Bob Thornton, Michael Chiklis, and Rosario Dawson are merely pawns in this cluttered, Ritalin-infused action film that stretches plausibility so often that it would be more accurately described as science fiction.
But it does have a blistering pace going for it.
LaBeouf and Monaghan are complete strangers who have never met-he a Stanford dropout, she a single mother-and are thrown together by a mysterious female voice. The woman calls them on their cell phones, barks out orders, and can predict the immediate future with uncanny accuracy. The two are threatened by the unknown caller relentlessly, and events lead to every law enforcement agency eventually chasing the couple tirelessly.
Car chases and collisions ensue, and are shot in quick-get-me-a-Dramamine jittery motion and in such close proximity that it’s difficult to decipher exactly what’s going on. Younger audiences may prefer this style; we uh, more tenured, cynics always suspect this is merely shortcut filmmaking.
The unseen power behind all this mayhem turns out to be a government mega-computer run amok that can’t be stopped (they never design an “off” switch on these devices). Ultimately, “Eagle Eye” is supposed to be a cautionary tale about Orwellian surveillance in this post Patriot Act era but much of that message is wrapped in such high speed nonsense that it gets lost.
If a man-made computer is so powerful it can completely control traffic control systems, ATM machines, LED devices, and telephone power lines, (one unintentionally laughable scene has a disobedient victim electrocuted by self-severing cables with precise human-seeking accuracy), do they really need unpredictable, unskilled normal folks to carry out their destruction? Guess so, or there wouldn’t be a movie.
Even Pixar threw some humans into “Wall-E.” But that film is light years ahead of “Eagle Eye.” Smarter, more fun, with more pointed social commentary. And no vertigo.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and for language