Sunday, September 04, 2005

Movie Review: Red Eye

United States, 2005
U.S. Release Date: 8/19/05
Running Time: 1:25
Rated: PG-13 (Violence, profanity)
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox

Director: Wes Craven
Producers: Chris Bender, Marianne Maddalena
Screenplay: Carl Ellsworth
Music: Marco Beltrami
Studio: Dreamworks

Posted by Picasa
With Red Eye, director Wes Craven has stepped outside of the box. Not within his horror comfort-zone, Craven manages to prove that he is capable of creating a cerebral thriller unlike his typical fare. Red Eye represents a tremendous growth in Craven’s career and quite possibly the peak of McAdams’ and Murphy’s as well. Red Eye is a taut, condensed suspense thriller that, just like its leads, is fresh, electric, and in no way congealed.

While attempting to return to Miami on a red eye flight, Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) meets Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy). Jackson seems charming at first, but Lisa soon realizes that his intentions are sinister. Lisa must comply with Jackson and assist him in assassinating the Director of Homeland Security (Jack Scalia), or else her father (Brian Cox) will be killed.

Despite its lengthy set-up, Red Eye’s tension crescendos up until the film’s final scene—where time is finally allocated for an exhale. Even as the wheels meet the runway and the leads begin to play an action-packed and intelligent game of cat-and-mouse, the film's apprehension caroms to an increasingly heightened level. Not only does Red Eye solidly snowball its tension throughout, but it also maintains plausibility around every corner.

Rachel McAdams' performance should give off a high--similar to the altitude of where the plane flies. Yes, she really is that good. The fear and intensity that she so effortlessly displays not only sets her apart from all of the previous air-heads that Craven has utilized, but it also places her on the path of becoming the next American Sweetheart (i.e. Julia Roberts). After The Hot Chick, Mean Girls, The Notebook, Wedding Crashers, and now Red Eye, McAdams has continuously compounded her acting ability, and some how she just keeps getting prettier too.

As for Cillian Murphy, if there is a better living actor to play a villain in all of Hollywood, he/she has surely not yet been discovered. After spiraling off of his astonishing success – with a potato sack over his head – in Batman Begins, Murphy returns to the big-screen as an even more potent threat. The man’s facial features alone are enough to creep out any moviegoer, but because Mr. Murphy’s acting is so good, he makes it hard for viewers to turn away from the sight of him.

With its inclusion of a scar on Lisa’s chest and everyone asking her if she is alright and if she is sure, Red Eye creates a heroine who is admired by her hotel guests and coworkers, yet simultaneously insecure and unsatisfied. Only revenge and the inherent protection of the two most important men in Lisa’s life can cure this discontent. Despite Lisa’s choice to safeguard herself from love, she discovers her physical and emotional tenacity, and thereby begins to love herself.

On this level, Red Eye is deeper than your run-of-the-mill thriller. It is far from far-fetched and positively one of the most airtight thriller since 2002’s Panic Room. Certainly, as you unfasten your seat belt to exit your seat, you will be more enthused with Red Eye than irritated. (*** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005