Friday, January 02, 2009

Eagle Eye: Grade D

D
Eagle Eye (2008)
Shia La Beouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, Billy Bob Thornton. Director D.J. Caruso.

The strong cast attracted me to this techno-thriller, but that’s about all it offers, a strong cast. The writing is abysmal. It is supposed to be a commentary on the dangers of government spying on citizens through the Patriot Act, and that would be a fine theme for a movie, but this story is so far beyond reason that it cannot be taken seriously. A giant computer in the pentagon spies on, and even manipulates US citizens by having universal access to every telephone, security camera, cipher lock, subway train, GPS, traffic signal, advertising sign, ATM, television and toaster in America. You would have to be pretty na├»ve to go with that, so maybe the movie is for a much younger audience.

Like HAL 2000, the computer goes rogue and must be disabled in exactly the same way, albeit without Kubrick’s cinematic wit. In the meantime, ordinary citizens LaBoeuf and Monaghan are pursued as terrorists by the FBI (Thornton) and a wide assortment of government heavies in black SUVs. A mysterious cell phone caller gives these innocents precise instructions on how to escape capture multiple times, although they remain mystified and terrified. They are the only two people in America who don’t know that a cell phone is a GPS beacon so they are unable to escape the tyranny of “the voice,” as they stupidly keep answering the phone every time it rings. Music is of the loud, annoying “heart-pounding” type and the plentiful explosions approach the threshold of pain, but if you turn the volume down you can’t hear the dialog so you just have to be quick on the mute button. The acting is good, considering, and the faces are attractive, and the car chases have some novel elements. A few good pictures are framed well. The movie should make it to cable soon.

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