Owain Paciuszko 19/10/2008
Good morning class, it's movie mathematics time, notebooks open, and pay attention at the back.
Take Francis Ford Coppola's slow-burn paranoid thriller 'The Conversation' and multiply it by Tony Scott's 'Enemy of the State', divide by Alfred Hitchcock's classic wrong-man-on-run adventure 'North by Northwest' over David Fincher's 'The Game' and then add a double dose of sci-fi hokum in the rickety shapes of 'Stealth' and 'I, Robot', times by the square root of '2001: A Space Odyssey' and minus character, wit, pacing and logic and you should have... what Jimmy? Jimmy are you doodling! Well, at least your flickering, distracted mind might find something to enjoy in D.J. Caruso's messy techno-thriller 'Eagle Eye'.
The debut teaming of Caruso and Shia LeBeouf produced 2007's wonderfully tense 'Rear Window'-rip 'Disturbia', despite its similarities to the Hitchcock classic (a law suit was filed earlier this year) it managed by a fun little ride and one of the year's sleeper hits. This success resulted in Caruso being handed a budget four times the size for his second film.
Despite a very promising - if familiar - concept 'Eagle Eye' is a dissapointing shambles, it moves at quite a pace thanks to its 'we control everything' plot-line, allowing for action sequences to happen whenever the convoluted plot gets too wearisome, sadly, the sequences never get given a chance to take off becoming mere hiccups along the road rather than knuckle-whitening rides. The one moment where I thought the film was going to take off and find that perfect summer balance between thrills and knowing humour quickly descended into a re-tread of 'Die Hard 4.0's tunnel-sequence.
There is also a highly watchable cast thrown into the mix to try and distract you from the film's lack of smarts, but aside from a few barked barbs Billy Bob Thornton has little to do, Michael Chiklis just looks worried, Rosario Dawson is merely a catalyst (and provides the key part of the 'why didn't someone just do that sooner?' finale) whilst LeBeouf and 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang's Michelle Monaghan make a surprisingly likable pairing the film doesn't have enough for them both and they end up becoming cookie-cutter representations of 'daddy didn't love me' and 'don't hurt my boy' respectively.
A huge dissapointment despite my lack of expectations, an epileptic spin on 'North By Northwest' that really makes me yearn for the elegant balance of action-sequences and dark humour that Hitchcock or, someone like, James Cameron could have brought to this. And I'm not even mentioning the film's 'villain'.