Eagle Eye

In this day and age of ever-expanding technology and over-zealous homeland security, the notion that your every move is being watched is no longer a figment of a conspiracy theorist’s imagination. The American National Security Agency has been collecting phone call records and monitoring call patterns of millions of citizens with the intent of creating a database of every call ever made. President Bush himself has acknowledged the fact that he has authorized the NSA to eavesdrop, without warrants, on international calls and e-mails of American citizens as a means to win the proverbial war on terror. Big brother is watching you.

Eagle Eye is a suspense thriller that delves into a very similar Orwellian reality, depicting the United States government as omnipresent, intrusive and eager to condemn. Its first victim: Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf), a broke, sweet-talking copy center clerk. One night as he comes back home, he finds his place fully equipped with top of the line weaponry, fake documentation and a slew of highly incriminating evidence worthy of the most dangerous and active sleeper cell imaginable. His cell phone rings, and a chilling female voice gives him instructions, embarking him on an interminable chase of cat and mouse worthy of The Fugitive, Frantic and pretty much any movie starring Harrisson Ford in the 80’s and 90’s. Along for the ride is Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), a caring single mother who parts ways with her son as he goes on a band trip to Washington DC. Soon enough she gets the same chilling phone calls as Shaw, telling her that if she does not accomplish the tasks given to her, she will lose her son. Explosions and car crashes ensue, as both our protagonists try to make sense of the bigger picture.

Eagle Eye is an extremely engaging thriller, filled with action-packed car chases, stand-offs and chill inducing escape tactics. The chase sequences are loads of fun in an edge-of-your-seat kind of way. Brought to the screen by the same creative team behind Disturbia, much of the same strengths and weaknesses can be found here. While the storytelling is engaging and very entertaining to say the least, the storyline is questionable if not completely retarded. However, if you do not think too much about the denouements, and you allow yourself to embark on the ride, Eagle Eye promises a great cinematic experience.

Eagle Eye’s plot requires constant flexing of the suspension of disbelief muscle. However, the acting showcased in the film makes the flexing effortless. LaBeouf and Monaghan’s everyday people vulnerability makes it easy for the viewers to put themselves in their shoes as they are seen running for their lives. With each movie, LaBeouf slowly establishes himself as the new generation’s leading man. With a few more years, and more experience under his belt, he promises to be one of the best actors of his generation. However, one would be blind to give him all the credit for this movie. Rounding out the cast are a slew of government officials played by the great Billy Bob Thornton, the ever engaging Rosario Dawson, and the always welcomed Michael Chiklis. If it weren’t for their credibility and stunning commitment to the movie’s far-fetched script, this film would easily be a dud.

On a side note, I went to see this film on the Imax screen, and for the first time ever, I strongly recommend viewing this film in a regular movie theatre. Eagle Eye was clearly not shot with the intent of being shown on the Imax. Close-ups and camera jerks galore make of Eagle Eye a queasy Imax experience. Think The Bourne Ultimatum or Transformers projected on a 22 by 16 meter screen. That being said, if you are thirsty for a fun edge-of-your-seat thriller, Eagle Eye is definitely the one for you, as long as you leave your brain at home and make sure to turn off your cell phone.

Review by Ralph Arida