Review: Eagle Eye

Eagle Eye

With function following form, director D.J. Caruso’s Eagle Eye is yet another assault on the senses. Use earplugs and be ready to watch explosion after explosion, wipeout after wipeout and a multitude of game-like video simulations. With an anti-technology premise, this secondhand movie lifts from better movies—too many to mention—and defaults on its assets.

Wasting Michelle Monaghan and Shia LaBeouf (who starred in Caruso’s Disturbia) as two young innocents forced to commit criminal acts by an computer hell-bent on putting John McCain’s heel-clicking “country first” slogan into practice, the pair engage in desperate acts to save themselves and her son (who bears no resemblance to his mom or dad). Anthony Mackie—excellent as a spirited football player in We Are Marshall—and Rosario Dawson (Mimi in Rent) are also beneath their abilities.

Eagle Eye is not awful. There’s enough character development, barely, and snappy lines to involve the viewer. The couple, resisted then aided by Billy Bob Thornton’s law enforcer, race against time through anonymous phone calls in a tech-based infrastructure breakdown that echoes Live Free or Die Hard and Cellular, both of which are better pictures. LaBeouf is an underachiever, natch, and Monaghan is a single mom; he seeks redemption while she seeks to save her son. Neither of them is particularly realistic or likeable.

A bond does develop between them, but it’s chronically interrupted by another 10-minute action sequence, which usually goes over the top and obliterates any affection for the humans on screen. Being pulled out of the story depletes one’s interest in resolving the conflict. By the time a climax rolls around, the movie, which might have made a point about substituting individual rights for presumed safety—hello, Department of Homeland Security—leaves no seriously viable value at stake. Eagle Eye nods off and starts twitching.

There are other problems. Mackie and Dawson and other characters are underdeveloped. The sound is oppressively loud. The notion that government technology can wreak havoc in people’s lives with efficiency is laughable, particularly at this time. Not that Eagle Eye’s action doesn’t have a jarring effect—it does—and Caruso’s dry sense of humor comes through here and there. The female-voiced death machine is like Hillary Clinton’s campaign—it doesn’t stop—and anyone who has followed an erroneous Global Positioning System (GPS) to the middle of a vacant lot will appreciate the impossible feats these two survive in order to reach their destination. Getting there is neither unbearable nor enjoyable.

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