An expensive slice of summertime cheese, Eagle Eye rests comfortably in the top tier of preposterous techno-paranoid thrillers (it counts 1998's Enemy of the State, 1995's Nick of Time and 1983's War Games as good company). Director D.J. Caruso uses every test-marketed trick in the book -- Bourne-style camerawork and editing; Michael Bay-worthy set pieces and a dash of detached, ironic humor -- to make this often-hard-to-swallow tale go down easy.
While it often maintains a loose tether to anything approaching reality, Eagle Eye is a helluva lot of fun, a well-oiled roller-coaster that does exactly what it sets out to do.
Hollywood's "It Boy," Shia LeBeouf, stars as Jerry Shaw, a hapless employee of Copy Cabana, a thinly veiled FedEx Kinko's knockoff, who finds himself thrust into strange and terrifying circumstances following the tragic, sudden death of his twin brother Ethan. Arriving home to find his crummy apartment littered with military-grade weaponry, Jerry receives a mysterious phone call, alerting him to the arrival of the FBI.
With a bang, he's off and running for his life, soon crossing paths with Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), a single mother dealing with odd phone calls of her own. The pair become entangled with government officials, struggling to understand how and why their lives have become so intensely scrutinized. As expected, events progress and build to a climax that's genuinely riveting.
Spoilers will ruin the few twists embedded within Eagle Eye, so I'll refrain from spelling out the plot, but as multiplex action dramas go, it's a cut above the most brain-dead summer offerings. The screenplay -- stitched together by a quartet of writers (John Glenn, Travis Wright, Hillary Seitz and Dan McDermott) -- plays on the fears of a post-9/11 society made skittish by the government's increased intrusion into private communications. Jerry and Rachel are hounded by mundane technologies, like electronic billboards, cell phones and GPS systems, pushed and pulled in myriad directions but always being watched. It's a chilling thought and one that, although it occasionally slips into silliness (the airport sequence comes closest to entirely shredding a willing suspension of disbelief), an effective engine for a high-energy thriller.
LaBeouf and Monaghan do most of the heavy lifting and make an appealing pair -- their rough-and-tumble chemistry helps smooth over some of the more awkward expositional sequences -- although the rest of the cast, including Billy Bob Thornton, Ethan Embry and Rosario Dawson as dogged federal agents and Michael Chiklis as the secretary of defense, does not disappoint. Eagle Eye doesn't do much beyond updating tried-and-true government paranoia with a healthy dose of post-9/11 techno-suspicion. It's a familiar ride, but an effective, white-knuckle one.
Eagle Eye arrives on DVD in two flavors (it's also being released in Blu-ray): the single disc version, which is being reviewed here, and a two-disc edition that includes numerous bonus features, including an alternate ending and the film's theatrical trailer. More on the single disc's supplements below.
Presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1, this anamorphic widescreen transfer sparkles throughout, handling the numerous nighttime and dimly lit scenes with aplomb. The colors are vivid throughout, blacks are inky without becoming noisy and the level of detail is expectantly crisp. An all-around great image.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is in overdrive from first frame to last, delivering a richly immersive and, at times, almost overwhelming experience. Dialogue is heard clearly and without distortion, while the numerous action sequences have sharp detail and crisp bass response. It's a sharp, sparkling track that compliments the excellent visual presentation. Optional French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are included, as are optional English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Big fans of the film should seek out the two-disc set, as the single disc version of Eagle Eye is pretty slim in the supplements department: Three deleted scenes (presented in anamorphic widescreen), playable separately or all together for an aggregate of three minutes, 33 seconds and the three minute, four second making-of featurette "Road Trip" (presented in anamorphic widescreen).
Eagle Eye doesn't do much beyond updating tried-and-true government paranoia with a healthy dose of post-9/11 techno-suspicion. It's a familiar ride, but an effective, white-knuckle one. Recommended.