If you haven’t checked out Google Earth lately, you might want to think about it. I’ve never considered myself a conspiracy theorist, but when I can very clearly see an aerial view of the house I grew up in a picture taken from space, well, it creeps me out. In case you haven’t noticed, privacy isn’t what it used to be and I’m not the only person who’s a little concerned about it. Attempting to tap into the public’s collective fears and suspicions comes D.J. Caruso’s preposterous Eagle Eye, an action film with plenty of thrills but I have no idea what alternate reality it’s set in.
While I’m all for suspending belief and cutting movies (and books and any other pieces of media meant for entertainment) some slack, it’s still got to be plausible in the world that’s been created. No matter how much tension has been built, no matter how fast-paced the action is, no matter how many percussion instruments the soundtrack’s score takes on, the movie’s got to make sense. Several times throughout Eagle Eye I found myself drawn into individual scenes. They looked good, they were exciting, they had a thumping soundtrack. But once the scene was established and some sense of forwarding the plot had to come from it, the dots don’t come close to connecting.
Shia LaBeouf plays slacker Jerry Shaw who comes home to find his apartment filled to the ceiling with all the things you need to become an international super terrorist. The phone rings and he’s on the run. From what? He has no idea. The point? Some unknown mission. For who? That’s the sort-of secret. It’s not long before Jerry crosses paths with Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), a mom on a similar sort of mission. Both become high-level errand people for the voice on the end of the phone who is tracking their every move, word and step.
Eagle Eye tackles the idea of connectivity and privacy. With all the gadgets in our pockets and hanging on the walls, most everyone can be seen or tracked at any time. From here on out we can really only hope that privacy is maintained on the basis of trust. And if you can’t trust technology or its users, remember there’s nearly seven billion people in the world. Still, I find it scary that a free and widely used program like Google Earth can find most any point on the planet, give me real-time traffic estimates and show me where I grew up. Scarier, though, is the fact that Eagle Eye takes great leaps to keep the story moving forward. It takes on a big concept but the execution is ultimately not able to stick to that level. The result is a film that is laughably preposterous at times when you’re not distracted by the fast editing, car crashes and overly dramatic music.