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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eagle Eye

This week’s big box office winner is Eagle Eye, a movie now at the Essex Cinemas starring Shia LaBeouf as twins. I know a lot of people who think one Shia is more than plenty considering his youthful indiscretions fueled with lots of alcohol and who-knows-what-else? Considering that at his age I was hospitalized after getting run over by a truck while trying to snort the white line down the middle of Sepulveda Boulevard in LA I feel I have little room to comment. On the idea of twin Shias, though, well… I do have something to say on the subject of twins. My family is rife with them. It’s almost as common as finding cockroaches in Brooklyn as finding someone in my clan squeezing out a pair of kids two at a time. My grandfather claims it’s because the women in our family are naturally lazy and only want to have to go through the process of childbirth half as often as they would have to otherwise. You’d have to know my grandfather to appreciate his alleged charm.

Oh, about twins. I always thought it was just in movies where there was a “good” twin and a “bad” twin, like in Dead Ringers with Jeremy Irons or Charles Busch in Die, Mommie, Die!, but now that I’ve lived in a family littered with Xerox® copies of cousins, nieces, nephews, and assorted
confused bloodlines here-and-there I can tell you it is a true fact and every pediatrician in the world should warn parents of twins that they might as well brace themselves for the sad reality that one twin will shine brighter than the other. And if you are the parent of twins and are reading this and saying that’s not true, you’re lying to your kids, and, more importantly, you are lying to yourself and you need counseling. Damn, I feel just like dead Ann Landers. That’s what I call those two women who have taken the old gal’s place since she shuffled off this planet. Now her column should just be called “Dead Ann Landers” and, really, every problem someone writes in about ends up with the same advice ~ get counseling. Husband cheating? Get counseling. Got cancer? Get counseling. Are bunions killing your feet? Get counseling. But I digress.

In Eagle Eye, Shia LeBeouf plays Jerry Shaw, the lackluster half of the identical twin Shaw brothers. Well, obviously, he plays the other one as well, but we don’t see much of Ethan since he is dead before we even know Jerry has, or had a sibling. Jerry has a ‘glamorous’ life as a “copy associate” at Copy Cabana in Chicago and scrapes by ~ barely ~ to pay his rent on a grungy one room apartment in a run-down building near the El. When he hears that his brother has been killed in a car accident he returns home to a chilly reception and a lecture from his father about his lack of responsibility as they stand in front of a wall of athletic trophies his brother had won in high school before going off to the Air Force Academy, where he excelled. Usually for two people who look exactly alike to be this different one would have to have had brain damage, but apparently Jerry is just “special”. If only his parents had known earlier they could have named him Ed, and he could have been ‘Special Ed.’

Anyway, Ed, er, Jerry comes to Chicago and finds his apartment crammed to the rafters with ammonium nitrate, guns, flight instructions, and everything it takes to point a finger at him as America’s Favorite Terrorist. It’s about one minute later that he gets the first of many phone calls from an unknown number, with a sultry female voice giving him instructions. In this case, she is warning him that he has thirty seconds to get out of his apartment before the FBI will break down the door. Okay, I’d probably be a little distracted by all this too, and be going “Wha?” long enough to waste all thirty seconds, which is what Jerry does, but if he didn’t we wouldn’t get the opportunity to enjoy that adorable Mr. Crankypants Billy Bob Thornton (Mr. Woodcock) as Agent Thomas Morgan, who is the gruff interrogator you just know will end up being Jerry’s best friend before this is over. I immediately pictured them having double lattes at Starbucks after everything is over and Jerry apologizing for shooting Tom in the leg or something like that. You know how guys are.

Meanwhile, as Jerry is getting grilled like a cheese sandwich, for some seemingly unrelated reason the action shifts to a frenzied young single mother, Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan; Made of
Honor), who is shipping her six-year-old son Sam (Cameron Boyce; Mirrors) off on a field trip to Washington DC with his elementary school band and chorus. What she doesn’t see is that a strange man (cue menacing music) casually swipes her son’s trumpet case from the baggage cart before it can be loaded onto the train. Then the scene cuts to later that evening and super-mom is out at a bar with her girlfriends, guzzling boilermakers and eyeing the man-meat in a nearby booth. Yeah, she couldn’t go on the trip with Sam because “[she] has to work and earn enough money to keep a roof over our heads” but she’ll spend as much money as she’d lose from taking the day off at work to be with her kid for his concert by drinking it all away in just a couple of hours with her slutty gal pals instead. Tramp-o-rama. Suddenly, though, she is interrupted by a phone call, and the same lilting woman’s voice Jerry had heard gives Rachel some very detailed instructions to follow or she threatens to kill Rachel’s son. When Rachel tries to call 9-1-1, her phone is jammed and the woman scolds her, telling her not to disobey again or she will derail Sam’s train immediately. And so with that, Rachel is sent on her mission with the mystery woman guiding her every move.

Back at the FBI, Morgan receives a fax from the Department of the Attorney General ordering him to give Jerry access to a phone, and as soon as Jerry is left alone to make his “one phone call” his attempt to call his father is hijacked by ~ you guessed it! ~ the mystery miss, who gives him ten seconds this time to prepare for his escape. It is all very dramatic and dangerous, but it is the catalyst that unites Jerry and Rachel for the first time and forces them to go on the run from the FBI and then the CIA with no idea why, other than the speculation that Ethan was somehow involved in a terrorist plot, an idea Jerry adamantly rejects.

The film rocks with non-stop action ,and the identity of the woman who is behind manipulating everything from stop lights to subway trains is not revealed until more than half-way in, which makes the tension and wonder all the better. What she wants and how she is doing what she is will blow you away. I had no idea until the big reveal who she was and even when her identity is known it doesn’t deflate the energy of the scheme she has already put in place. If anything, it only heightens the suspense because both Jerry and Rachel realize how perfectly orchestrated the plot is.

Kudos to director DJ Caruso (Disturbia), who has made a lean and slick film without any extraneous scenes or wasted “character development” bits; he definitely knows how to create well-rounded characters through small pieces of dialogue within larger conversations or though the motivations of the characters’ actions.

The lead actors click and are totally believable as if they are actually going through this nightmare
and are leaning on each other. LeBeouf, of course, has worked with Caruso and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) before so they already have a comfortable working relationship, but it is Monaghan who is the standout as the mother protecting her cub. She gives an outstanding performance.

Eagle Eye is a fantastic thrill ride that you can enjoy again and again. There is more action per minute in this movie than you’ll find in Kim Kardashian’s jeans all year, and you know that’s saying a whole lot considering her ba-dunk-a-dunk. Seriously, go. You will not be disappointed.

1 comment:

gilan fedrasilan said...

Eagle eye is a marvelous movie I have stunt while watching it. Clearly a grate tasted story backed fantastic acting by Michelle Monaghan and shia labeouf. Mystery all around and enjoy every bit of it. Feels like running with them as the movie goes. A trusted site I always turn in watch free movies at http://www.80millionmoviesfree.com