As our movie starts, the U.S. government and military are tracking who they believe to be a Mid-East terrorist mastermind and they have the opportunity to strike, but all intel points that there is only a 51% chance of certainty that this is their man, and worse, he appears to be attending a funeral. The word is given to strike by the President. We then flash to Jerry Shaw, working at a copy store, who just seems like you’re ordinary slacker youth. Jerry is going about his life when he gets a phone call from his mother that his twin brother has died, and on returning from his funeral, he gets home to mysteriously discover that he now has over a three quarters of a million dollars in his bank account and his apartment filled with all the supplies need to start a terrorist revolution. He then receives a mysterious phone call with a female voice urging him to leave his apartment now because the FBI is about to invade his home. Along the way, we’re also introduced to a young single mother, Rachel who has just sent her son off to appear at a major band recital, and Rachel also receives a mysterious phone call from the same voice instructing her on a path that crosses Jerry’s, eventually putting both into a major situation…
… and again, I’m just trying to be as vague as I can be in describing the premise to Eagle Eye the latest movie from director D.J. Caruso and star Shia LaBeouf, who gave us Disturbia before this. Eagle Eye is about the ultimate in Hollywood leftist paranoia as it gets, referencing many a film before it as varied as North By Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Parallax View, The Manchurian Candidate, The Conversation, WarGames, Enemy of the State, Colossus: The Forbin Project and one of the most blatant, and funny at the same time, 2001: A Space Odyssey and unfortunately, it’s all pretty damn convoluted, so much so that it’s pretty hard to take the whole thing to seriously.
At times it seems like it’s the kind of movie that Hollywood makes when they want to make an action movie within a movie, that is feeling like a parody and part of the problem with that is two-fold, at least for me… one, though LaBeouf does a fine enough job with the part, I just don’t care for the character as it is on paper and two, it’s too long and gives you time to think about what’s happening as it’s happening, and it’s just hard to think that anyone could be taking this all that seriously, and the filmmakers, Caruso and producer Steven Spielberg (where reportedly, the whole idea for this comes from him) play this like they want you to take it pretty seriously, in it’s popcorn movie way. Unfortunately, at least for me, I just couldn’t take it seriously for a moment.
The thing is, it’s technically proficient, with some nicely made set pieces, even though they’re highly preposterous. And it’s earnestly acted, not just from it’s lead, but also it’s support including Michelle Monaghan, Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson and Michael Chiklis (Thornton, Dawson and Chiklis, to me are the best things about the film).
I don’t think my time was wasted with this at all, but at the same time, I really find it hard to recommend this. Caruso is certainly a top-notch filmmaker as such things like The Salton Sea and Two For The Money has shown in the past, and it certainly shows here that he can make your literal big-ass Hollywood action film, it’s just a shame that he didn’t have another idea to work with, one that maybe was just a little more grounded, and with a character that I could’ve given a damn about.