As derivative/ripped off as it was (see current state of lawsuit for correct description), Disturbia was a zippy, fun teen thriller which cemented Shia LaBeouf as the fastest rising lead in Hollywood and enabled helmer D.J. Caruso to leap from TV shows to blockbuster movies. This reunion of actor and director for a techno-paranoia thriller looked all set up to be something special, then. For 45 minutes or so, it is.
Right now, no one does a ‘what the bejeezus is going on?’ face better than LaBeouf, and he has plenty of chances to use it as a mysterious female voice begins manipulating his life and he finds himself jumping off buildings, leading explosive car chases and staging an armed robbery. Michelle Monaghan does well too, playing the panicking single mother who’s also drawn into the melee. So far, so intriguing.
It all goes awry when we find out ‘who’ the disembodied voice actually belongs to, and the premise is revealed to be much, much sillier than the film’s excellent trailer had suggested. Gaping plot holes spring up all over the shop as Caruso goes nuts with the shaky-cam and throws in some dubious green screen for good measure. Meanwhile, Exec Producer Steven Spielberg seems to have earned his credit by dusting off the high-tech sets from his own Minority Report, forgetting that that was set in 2054, when we can just about believe that government special project HQs might look like theme park rides.
Eagle Eye isn’t a disaster. The dynamism of LaBeouf and Monaghan plus the earthy and wry performance of Billy Bob Thornton keep it moving, and there are enough big bangs to keep pyromaniacs happy. But it will take a real leap of imagination and sense to get on board with the film’s core plot, and if you’re not prepared for that, you’ll just feel cheated.