Living up to the hype of its previews, the thriller Eagle Eye directed by D.J. Caruso delivers an engaging plot, impressive acting and a degree of suspense that leaves viewers guessing until the end.
Shia LaBeouf plays young college dropout Jerry Shaw living in Chicago whose twin brother, military man Ethan Shaw, has recently died. Jerry attends the funeral and upon returning to his apartment, finds crates of dangerous weapons, deadly biochemicals and a mysterious phone call telling him to evacuate the apartment before the FBI arrives to arrest him.
In disbelief, Shaw refuses to leave and the chaos that follows him throughout the movie ensues. Left with no choice but to follow the orders of the woman's voice on the other end of the line, Shaw carries out the voice's wishes in hope that he will uncover her identity and put an end to her control over his life.
LaBeouf's co-star actress Michelle Monaghan plays young single mom Rachel Holloman, who similarly finds herself at the mercy of the voice. For Rachel, the welfare of her young son Sam (Cameron Boyce) is threatened; the possessor of the voice will derail the train on which Sam is riding if she does not comply with its demands.
Rachel and Jerry end up in the same car together on a destructive chase through the streets of Chicago, carrying out the voice's orders and attempting to avoid the cops.
LaBeouf's acting throughout the film is impressive. The emotional distress he conveys at his brother's funeral, his realistic confusion when the adventure begins, and his continual fear that his brother's involvement with the Pentagon wasn't coincidental all showcase LaBeouf's talent.
Monaghan does a thorough job of portraying a woman torn between self-preservation and a mother's protective instinct, though the complexity of LaBeouf's character dominates her at times.
The most noticeable flaws in Eagle Eye includes Caruso's failure to develop some of the secondary characters (such as Rosario Dawson's detective Zoe Perez) more fully, allowing them to become representational types rather than three-dimensional individuals. Though Eagle Eye's conclusion is dramatic and satisfying, the movie ends quite abruptly, allowing viewers only a few minutes of genuine denouement before suddenly cutting to the credits.
Not just another "big brother" action film, Eagle Eye goes beyond playing off of vague and cliché conspiracy fears to address specific relevant national issues, including conflict in the Middle East as well as the consequences that can arise when the Patriot Act gets out of control.
Caruso successfully manages to take a genre that has been overused by other directors and infuse it with a new unpredictability and air of suspense. Eagle Eye is definitely deserving of its recent high-ranking box office status, and is a respectable addition to LaBeouf's and Monaghan's acting careers.