Have you ever been watching a film in the cinema when suddenly you realise that you’ve seen it before? Watching Eagle Eye, that feeling of déjà vu will probably come over you again and again.
There are shades of Terminator, Wanted, 2001, A Space Odyssey, I Robot, indeed practically every film I’ve ever seen, and while such a concept is hardly surprising with director D.J. Caruso’s record (last year’s Disturbia was a complete rip-off of Hitchcock’s Rear Window), it does get a little annoying.
What is one man’s theft, however, is another’s homage, so it is perhaps too harsh to judge it on this alone. A mix of mystery, action and thriller, Eagle Eye is a well-executed, if silly, comment on politics and the threat of surveillance.
So far, so 1984, but with some genuinely exhilarating chase sequences and a very dangerous trumpet (don’t ask), Eagle Eye gives Big Brother a twenty-first century makeover. When lay-about copy-boy Jerry Shaw (LaBeouf) receives a call from a mysterious woman who seems to be watching his every move, his first instinct is to ignore her communications.
When this voice on the other side of the phone breaks him out of jail by demolishing it, however, he begins to think otherwise. Forced to meet Rachel Holloman (Monaghan), whose son will be killed if she does not also listen to this faceless woman, the two must assist in what seems to be a terrorist plot.
Hot on their tails are cops Billy Bob Thornton and Rosario Dawson, who must stop these risks to security at all costs. But how do you catch two criminals who are informed via telephone what’s around every corner, helped by an assailant who can turn red lights green, derail trains and, in a particularly Transformers-esque scene, make unmanned cranes destroy every police car on the duo’s trail?
It may be ridiculous, but it makes good popcorn viewing. No strangers to the Hollywood blockbuster, the film’s leads shine in roles which explore the depth of what normal people will do when faced with no other option.
LaBeouf (the worst thing about Indiana Jones 4) and Monaghan (the best thing about Mission Impossible 3) work excellently together, bouncing off each other’s turmoil to create a duo thrust together by circumstances. Best of all, the scripting (almost) completely resists the temptation of the romantic subplot.
Also, while there is a slightly infuriating Hollywood ending, this is a film which knows not to take itself too seriously, making up for a dubious principle with highly impressive special effects and performances which truly justifies LaBeouf and Monaghan’s places on the new Hollywood A List.