Review: Eagle Eye

(Contains some mild, non-specific but still spoiler-type comments.)

Perfectly decent action thriller, even if not a particularly memorable or outstanding one. It’s mostly likely to give rise to memories of the superior Enemy of the State (which is helpfully invoked several times in dialogue just to make it clear) but Fugitive, WarGames and Matrix are also directly referenced and in particular the film features 2001’s HAL’s dream date in ARIA.

Oddly though it’s Hitchcock that this film most seems to want to be like, from the “innocent man on the run from the authorities” plot line, the hero and heroine shackled (figuratively) together – and the final assassination scene strikingly like the climax of “The Man Who Knew Too Much” even down to the son being held hostage.

But where Hitch would have built tension to breaking point, this film follows the modern tradition of throwing lots of action (even if very well staged), sound and fast editing into making the story borderline unintelligible at times, and certainly lacking the tension that the Master would have pulled off. The plot shift from the early ground-setting to the start of the main story is so sudden, unheralded and lacking build-up that it’s a huge opportunity wasted.

The film also strays too far into the ‘unbelievable’ at times with ARIA’s capabilities that undermines the central paranoid Big Brother warning that the film appears to be trying to convey.

The film is also very humourless, a shame given LaBeouf’s undoubted comedy skills that worked so well in his last collaboration with director D.J. Caruso; LaBeouf is fine, Monaghan is one-note, Billy Bob Thornton is his usual self leaving just Michael Chiklis as a surprisingly effective Secretary of Defence.

The one surprising facet of the story is that the villain of the piece is, in alternate readings, also the hero – the embodiment of the people, protecting the constitution, righting a horrible wrong ordered by the president. It’s a shame that it’s just a mad computer plot at the end of the day.

Rating: a perfectly enjoyable *** out of 5

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