'Eagle Eye': Death By A Thousand Cuts

Shia LaBeouf and Michell Monaghan i i

Duh Vinci code: Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan are trapped in an overly arcane conspiracy plot. Ralph Nelson/DreamWorks hide caption

itoggle caption Ralph Nelson/DreamWorks
Shia LaBeouf and Michell Monaghan

Duh Vinci code: Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan are trapped in an overly arcane conspiracy plot.

Ralph Nelson/DreamWorks

Eagle Eye

  • Director: D.J. Caruso
  • Genre: Action, Thriller
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

Rated PG-13: Intense action sequences, plus conspiracy theories that will be wasted on the young.

Billy Bob Thornton with pistol i i

He has a gun: That, and the fact that he's played by Billy Bob Thornton, is how you know he's a hard case. Ralph Nelson/DreamWorks hide caption

itoggle caption Ralph Nelson/DreamWorks
Billy Bob Thornton with pistol

He has a gun: That, and the fact that he's played by Billy Bob Thornton, is how you know he's a hard case.

Ralph Nelson/DreamWorks

Idiotic, if reasonably kinetic, Eagle Eye — in which Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan spend the better part of two hours urgently answering phone calls and dodging hurtling machinery — is every bit as over-edited as it is under-thunk.

Cobbled together from random elements of far better movies, it means to say something about anti-terrorism surveillance and civil liberties. But if you asked me what Eagle Eye is about, I'd have to say it's about as dumb as can be.

That said, even the not terribly eagle-eyed will spot plot points from George Orwell's 1984, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest, and a variety of Enemy of the State/Parallax View-style paranoid thrillers about nobodies drafted into assassination schemes.

After a brief prologue in the Middle East that will convince most viewers they've wandered into the wrong movie, LaBeouf and Monaghan start getting alarming commands via phone from a woman who can not only see everything they do, but can also control everything around them. She knows their weaknesses, so she can force their hands when they resist her.

And to facilitate their efforts on her behalf, she can also re-sequence traffic lights and subway cars and airport conveyor belts, send cranes crashing through office windows or car windshields, listen in on hushed conversations in wheat fields (through rural power lines), and then turn those same power lines into lethal weapons. She's a bit of a control freak, actually.

But when you finally find out who she is, and what she's trying to do, you'll realize that for all the intelligence at her disposal, she's hardly a brain trust. (Nor, apparently, is she an efficiency expert, so many are the simpler, more obvious ways of accomplishing her missions.)

She is, in fact, ridiculous. And that fact rather reduces the thrill value of the running around everyone is doing at her behest. Which is not to suggest that director D.J. Caruso hasn't flash-edited the hell out of Eagle Eye and pumped it up with ersatz Mission Impossible music in ways calculated to make your heart pound — and your temples throb.

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