Eagle Eye: 2-Disc Special Edition
January 5, 2009
Eagle Eye (2008) sees Shia LaBeouf reunited with director D.J. Caruso and producer Steven Spielberg, both of whom helped put him on the map with Disturbia (2007). That film liberally ripped off Rear Window (1954) and this new one takes on the paranoid thriller genre made popular in the 1970s with films like The Parallax View (1974).
Jerry Shaw (LaBeouf) works a thankless job at a copy center and is behind in his rent. To make matters worse, his twin brother has just died. One day, he deposits a check into his normally depleted bank account and finds several hundreds of thousands of dollars there. He comes home to find his apartment filled with weapons, high-tech gear and all the ingredients to make a bomb. Jerry receives an anonymous call on his cell phone instructing him to leave immediately. Within seconds, he’s arrested by the FBI and interrogated by Agent Tom Morgan (Thornton).
Rachel (Monaghan) is a single mother who also receives an anonymous phone call telling her that she has been “activated” and to do what she is told or her son will be killed. The same caller helps Jerry escape from FBI custody and pretty soon he and Rachel are thrown together, becoming involved in a hair-raising car chase that is manipulated electronically at every turn. Jerry and Rachel have to figure out who is doing this to them and why.
Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan are attractive leads who have pretty decent chemistry together. We quickly empathize with their plight: they’re innocent people trapped in a nightmarish situation. LaBeouf is quite good and over the past couple of years has gradually developed into a decent actor. It should be interesting to see what he can do with more challenging material away from Spielberg’s influence.
The manipulation of electronic surveillance is reminiscent of Enemy of the State (1998) only the technology has greatly advanced since then. Like that film, Eagle Eye is all about how easily someone’s personal data can be monitored and manipulated. Since 9/11, the passing of the Patriot Act has given the United States government unlimited control over its citizens in the name of national security. This film shows how much we are at the mercy of electronics and how every day items, like a cell phone, can be used against us. For the most part, Eagle Eye is an engaging, entertaining thriller with one glaring lapse in logic and an ending that is a little too neat and pat. This film is the equivalent of a paperback page-turner that you would read on the train or at the beach – fun but forgettable.
The first disc features three deleted scenes. There is one with Jerry at his twin’s wake and another where a soldier talks about the role of Minutemen in the government. Finally, there is one where Jerry and Rachel bond on a bus ride – nice but unnecessary.
“Road Trip” takes a brief look at the multiple locations used in the film because the main characters are constantly on the run.
The second disc starts with a brief “Alternate Ending” that is a cheesy plug for a video game and leaves a blatant opening for a sequel. Thankfully, this one was discarded.
“Asymmetrical Warfare: The Making of Eagle Eye” traces the film’s origins from an idea by Steven Spielberg to the finished product. Director D.J. Caruso had worked with Shia LaBeouf on Disturbia and they talk about the shorthand they have together. Caruso says that he used as little digital effects as possible in favor of real stunt-work.
“Eagle Eye on Location: Washington, D.C.” takes a look at the portion of the film that was shot in D.C. The filmmakers shot a lot on location, including the Library Congress and the Pentagon.
“Is My Cell Phone Spying on Me?” examines how technology has become so advanced that we are constantly under surveillance by the U.S. government. They made sure that all the technology used in the film was plausible.
Perhaps the most fascinating extra is “Shall We Play a Game?” that features Caruso talking with his mentor, director John Badham. Caruso talks about how Badham’s WarGames (1983) influenced Eagle Eye. It’s nice to hear these two directors talk about film.
There is the obligatory “Gag Reel,” a collection of blown lines, mainly by Billy Bob Thornton and Michelle Monaghan.
Also included is a “Photo Gallery,” featuring publicity stills and behind the scenes pictures.
Finally, there is a theatrical trailer.