Screenwriters: John Glenn, Travis Wright
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Billy Bob Thornton, Michelle Monaghan
Running time: 118 mins
Eagle Eye is a plodding, by the numbers thriller that appears to have been designed solely to set the cash tills ringing at the box office. Wasting the talents of Shia LaBeouf and Billy Bob Thornton, the film is an uninventive mishmash of various blockbusters punctuated by gaping plot holes, increasingly tedious twists and a series of woefully directed set pieces.
LaBeouf plays Jerry, a downtrodden loner who lands in deep trouble with the US government after masses of weapons are found in his squalid flat, having been planted there by an unknown source. Protesting his innocence, Jerry manages to escape thanks to a series of phone calls from an unknown female voice, who lays down various instructions and is able to control the country's entire technology. He soon joins forces with Rachel (Monaghan), a single mother also being manipulated, but determined FBI Agent Thomas Morgan (Thornton) is on their tail.
As the classical 'innocent man', LaBeouf is wholly convincing as the beleaguered and paranoid Jerry, a man with a traumatic family history. Given that his previous pairing with director DJ Caruso was the excellent Disturbia, hopes were high for Eagle Eye. Yet the painfully contrived situations the character finds himself in renders his performance effectively redundant. Not even a major twist halfway through can salvage this sinking ship.
The plot merely serves to propel Jerry from one set piece to another, with Caruso unable to helm them effectively. The cameramen all seem to have been filming while on a high-speed merry-go-round, with the slapdash editing adding further to the visual incoherence during the action scenes. A number of scenarios appear to have been cut and pasted from the likes of Enemy Of The State, Die Hard 4.0 and even 2001: A Space Odyssey.
As Jerry's sidekick Rachel, Michelle Monaghan has Excess Baggage stamped all over her, and is there purely because high concept action movie convention dictates that there must be some kind of love interest. A subplot featuring Rachel's young son being under threat never threatens to create any tension nor disturb your nap - unlike the excessively loud set pieces. At least Billy Bob Thornton, despite being on the acting equivalent of the 'Snooze' button, is always watchable and shares some impressive verbal duels with LaBeouf in the early part of the film.
Eagle Eye's political stance, rallying against the fundamental notions of a 'surveillance state', is overly forceful and dogmatic. It’s not right for dumb, generic action films - comprised of ineffective bangs and wallops - to have ideas above their station. As the film drags on, there are several nauseatingly dogmatic moments that make you feel like you’re trapped in some kind of uber-liberal rally. If that doesn't induce retching, then there’s every chance that the hideously contrived Stilton cheesefest of an ending will.
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