"Eagle" flies above action standard

Sept. 29, 2008, midnight | By Julia Wynn | 12 years ago

Brilliant plot and camera work a must-see for action lovers

There is much more to "Eagle Eye" than nonstop glass shattering, intense police chases and gun-pointing associated with most action films. With a distinctively alarming plot and exceptional cinematography, the film almost reaches the ranks of the Bourne series. "Eagle Eye" is gripping, incorporating issues such as terrorism and the conquest of technology that are frighteningly relevant in the world today.

Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf), a young man holding a meager job, arrives at his apartment one afternoon to find it stacked with boxes of illegal weapons. Now undeniably implicated as a terrorist, Jerry is interrogated by the FBI, but manages to escape further consequences via phone instructions from an unknown woman who seems to have planned the entire thing. This omnipotent woman has the whole city wired to achieve her purposes, programming all electrical devices to further Jerry's success in escaping the FBI. Jerry must comply with her orders or face death. Single mother Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) is also harassed by this same woman who entangles Rachel and Jerry in a government project about which they know very little. With no other options, Jerry and Rachel obey, only to discover that their female boss is actually a computer with a plot to destroy the current government.

Creative camera work is essential in establishing the computer's unyielding scrutiny of Jerry and Rachel. Often director D.J. Caruso shows Jerry or Rachel's actions through security cameras, as they would be perceived by the computer. This tactic enhances the tension in scenes and reestablishes the computer's disconcerting influence over everyone. Throughout the scenes when Jerry and Rachel are running away from the FBI, camera shots were erratically jerky, similar to the cinematography of "Cloverfield." Caruso also frequently changes camera angles in especially intense scenes to keep the viewer on edge. This approach is dizzying at times, but the effect is worth it.

Although action movies usually do not lend themselves to diverse acting opportunities, LaBeouf and Monaghan depict their constantly distressed characters decently. LaBeouf convincingly portrays Jerry, employing expressions that carried the weight of his situation throughout the movie. Monaghan is less impressive as Rachel, but still credible. As FBI agent Thomas Morgan, Billy Bob Thornton manages to realistically pull off a cleaner role while still giving it his characteristic rough edge.

Regardless of the suitable acting, intriguing plot and distinctive camera work, "Eagle Eye" lacks the punch needed to escalate itself higher than just a good thriller. Some action scenes add nothing to the film and are unnecessarily violent. For example, the computer electrocutes an innocent man merely to provide a vehicle for Jerry and Rachel to drive. Because there are other parts of the movie that show the terrifying dominance of technology in less frivolous ways, scenes like this could have been eliminated or at least diluted and it would not have detracted from the intensity and excitement of the film.

"Eagle Eye" is not just another action movie; it has a molecule of science fiction and futuristic truth to it. These elements and the realistic style in which the movie was created spark a genuine hope that this kind of story does not become reality.

Eagle Eye (118 min.) is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and for language. Now playing everywhere.

Julia Wynn. Hello, my name is Julia Wynn and I am looking forward to my senior year as a member of the Silver Chips Online staff. I love to dance (especially poms), listen to music and play piano. My two main food necessities are any kind of … More »

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