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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Eagle Eye

**** Eagle Eye. Action/adventure.

Directed by: D. J. Caruso.
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan

We saw this Thursday night at the theater on post.

Eagle Eye is your basic "Big Brother is out to get us" movie, but oh, it's fun.

Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) is a genial but disillusioned loser--likely in reaction to his twin brother's ultra-achieving personality. Rachel Holloman is a single mom. They're thrown together by the same anonymous voice on the phone.

Directly after his brother's death, the perpetually broke Jerry discovers $700K in his bank account, and boxes full of illegal arms in his apartment. A voice on the phone tells him to run because the FBI will be there to arrest him shortly, but he doesn't comply in time, so he gets picked up by Billy Bob Thornton. It doesn't take long before there's a chance to escape, and with the help of the voice on the phone, he does.

Rachel is out with girlfriends after seeing her son off on a train for D.C. with his orchestra when she gets the phone call. The voice threatens her son, and Rachel's too scared for him not to obey.

From there, it's nonstop action, with WhoeverItIs directing them from cell phones, electronic signs, the car's navigation system, whatever's handy and computerized.

Jerry's more resistant than Rachel--and it's not from stupidity, as a couple of reviewers suggested. He obviously has less at stake, but mostly, his lifestyle and personality scream that he's very resistant to authority, to being told what to do.

Unfortunately, a lot of the action scenes are that blurred, quick-cuts type that are impossible to follow. It's marginally appropriate in this case, because Jerry and Rachel are confused, and that technique passes that on to the audience, but I'll be really happy when this trend ends.

Of course the plot is all terribly far-fetched, but as long as you understand that and suspend disbelief, it's a lot of fun trying to figure out what computerized gadget is going to trip them up next.

I bristled at the notion that the secretary of defense was urging restraint and the generals were gung-ho. In my experience, it's generally the opposite--it's the civilians with no military experience who are most eager for war.

For the reviewer who thought it was stupid for WhoeverItWas to get the FBI involved--that ensured that Jerry and Rachel couldn't turn to anyone for help. Seemed obvious to me, but maybe it wasn't. Or maybe it was stupid, and I'm doing a fanwank. Whatever.

But for the reviewer who was appalled that the movie dared to criticize the Patriot Act, here's another pertinent quote: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."--Benjamin Franklin. And to those pointing out the words "essential" and "little" in the quote, I have to argue that having a private conversation with one's spouse is an essential liberty, and that the amount of "safety" derived from giving up that liberty is nonexistent. Sorry about that. But the story in the second link was on the front page of the Stars & Stripes today, and I'm still steaming.

Anyway. Eagle Eye. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I knew all along it was farfetched. Camden, on the other hand, really didn't like it. He couldn't get over the negative portrayal of the military, which Carl and I saw as fairly slight, but then we're older and used to Hollywood not liking us much.

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