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Review

‘Eagle Eye’ fails to live up to expectations

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October 2, 2008

  The 1970s were rife with paranoid thrillers. Stuff like “The Conversation” and “The Parallax View” were all about the proliferation of technology in society and how maybe — just maybe — someone was using it to spy on you right now. What the new DreamWorks release “Eagle Eye” does is take all those movies, roll them into one, then inject a dose of 100% pure goofy into the mix. But for all its wild and unbelievable traits, “Eagle Eye” gets the job done, ending one of the driest movie months ever with a heck of a bang.

  Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) is, to say the least, having a bad day. He comes home from his brother’s funeral to find his bank account flush with a boatload of cash and his apartment packed to the gills with enough weaponry to wipe out a small nation. Jerry is swiftly taken into federal custody, but pulling the strings from behind the scenes is an unknown woman who has the uncanny ability to see and hear our bewildered hero at all times. Following a daring escape, Jerry is thrust into action with Rachel (Michelle Monaghan), a single mom whose son is being used by the mystery woman as a bargaining chip to ensure her cooperation. Together, the two are at the mercy of the omnipresent villainess, racing to evade government agents and trying to live long enough to figure out what’s really going on.

  Let me say right now that “Eagle Eye” builds itself up to a point at which no matter how surprising or shocking key revelations are, they’ll never amount to the film’s own self-induced hype. But while a lot of what happens is about as easy to swallow as a pill the size of Guam, that’s not to say that “Eagle Eye” isn’t a successful thriller. Sure, you’ll be left going, “What the…?” on a few occasions, but what slice of pulse-pounding suspense doesn’t have a handful of moments like that? They just seem to be particularly abundant throughout “Eagle Eye,” which, no matter how ridiculous it gets, always keeps you guessing as to where it’s going to go next.

  I’ve seen a lot of hate directed towards burgeoning star Shia LaBeouf, but I have to admit that the kid’s work here is nothing short of solid. It helps that he fits his everyman role to a tee; he’s not parading around as a wannabe tough guy, keeping Jerry grounded as a slacker who’s in way over his head. Nevertheless, the guy handles himself well in the numerous, “Bourne Identity”-style action sequences, ranging from a downtown car chase to the rather Hitchcockian climax. Billy Bob Thornton also has lots of fun as a smarmy government agent.

  The ludicrous nature “Eagle Eye” brings to the table may be a bit too much for some. But for others such as myself, it’ll come across as an early fall treat — a big, loud and very entertaining picture to prepare us for the onslaught of the serious-minded awards season.

A.J. Hakari is a student at UW-River Falls.