Length: 118 minutes
Release Date: September 26, 2008
Directed by: D.J. Caruso
Genre: Action / Mystery / Thriller
Stars: 3 out of 5
“Eagle Eye” is an action-packed film that at first appears to remake a few other Big Brother-like films such as “Enemy of the State” and “The Net.” However, underneath the car chases, bombings, crashes and kidnapping, there is a bit of a heartfelt tale. This hidden theme sets “Eagle Eye” apart from the others, while giving a little meat to storyline.
The action dominates from the beginning. The film gives background information of a mission gone awry and terrorist attacks. These are a prelude to the events ahead. One death among the multitude is what matters most. Ethan Shaw is a military analyst who is killed in an accident. His twin brother, the family screwup named Jerry (Shia LeBeouf), mourns the death hard. The mourning is put on the back burner when Jerry returns home from his twin brother’s funeral to more $700,000 in the bank and an apartment full of artillery. The phone rings. A woman tells him that the FBI is on their way, and he must run. Unfortunately, Jerry is captured.
So begins Jerry’s mad dash for his own life. He soon crosses paths with a woman named Rachel (Michelle Monaghan) in the same predicament. She has orders given by phone from the same mysterious woman. Rachel’s orders mesh with the ones Jerry received. Together, they must crisscross the country, picking up things and performing acts that have no rhyme or reason to anyone but the woman on the phone. All the while, the life of Rachel’s son dangles in front of them like a carrot on a stick.
The end game is worse than anyone can imagine. The mysterious woman wants to kill the country’s leadership. Worse, she has already put the most of her plan in place. Before they realize it, Jerry and Rachel carry the components for a devastating bomb into the building. Rachel realizes that her son is there as well. The boy is actually part of the detonation for the bomb. Jerry and Rachel must save the country, but they must start with Rachel’s son.
At the same time, Jerry finds out more about his twin than he ever realized. Ethan helped build that monstrous machine behind the voice. She manipulates technology to seek out and neutralize threats and also analyzes data. Ethan saw a problem on the horizon and died trying to fix things. Slacker Jerry is now charged with saving the day.
Once the action in the film locks audiences in, it never lets up. The thrilling tale of deceit and intrigue makes “Eagle Eye” a great movie. However, the underlying themes make the film more than just any old special-effects film. Somehow, the computer has determined that the best way to manipulate people is to use their loved ones. Each person linked in her web has some familial tie dangled in front of them, just like Rachel and her son. Each person is risking jail, their businesses and their lives to fulfill a task. No one is willing to know more than their part. It may lead to further danger.
Jerry and Rachel have the most risk. Rachel is wearing a key part of the bomb, and Jerry knows about it. Despite all that the computer tries to do to the couple, they persevere. Together, these characters show that people will face down death for love.
Although “Eagle Eye” evokes reminders of Will Smith’s 1998 film “Enemy of the State,” it is a wholly different film. “Enemy of the State” wrangled with themes of privacy and the reach of the technological universe. “Eagle Eye” stays with deeper themes masked by the technological manipulation. In both films, the main characters are on the run to save their lives. However, in “Eagle Eye” the goal is not to cover up an event. In fact, the frantic scramble across the country is part of the plan to get the right tools and the right people in the right places to set off a crisis that will rock the world. In “Enemy of the State,” the worst has already happened. The rest is all about cleanup duty. Thus, the two films have no real similarities.
Shia LeBeouf proves that he is perfect for the action hero role. Meanwhile, Michelle Monaghan shows that she can handle whatever supporting role LeBeouf throws her way. Together, they make a couple that helps keep audiences interested in the film and the underlying story. The two of them bring the script, the plot, themes and the action together for an entertaining film.
“Eagle Eye” is more than an action movie and is well worth seeing.