Hitchcockian Thriller from Horror Master Craven
A. Johnson | Torrance, CA United States | 06/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've always been a fan of Wes Craven's films. He brings a wonderfully dark sense of humor, a deep sense of literacy (the man was, I believe, an English professor before he started making horror flicks) and a great storytelling ability to whatever he does. While his track record is imperfect (Cursed is pretty wretched), his duds are few and fade out in the great white glare of classics like Last House on the Left and A Nightmare on Elm Street. He has the rare ability to create total environments in which to house his stories; even when the material is fantastic, as with the Elm Street films, Shocker or Serpent and the Rainbow, it's grounded in a psychological reality everybody can recognize. It's the human dimension of his movies that lift them apart from a lot of the shlock horror fare that's out there, in which two-dimensional characters exist solely to be ripped apart in gooey ways.
Which brings us to Red Eye, which is not a horror movie per se, although it contains horrific and timely elements (the fear of terrorism, with its randomness, informs and heightens the claustrophobia). Red Eye is a taut Hitchcockian thriller in which a young professional woman played by Rachel McAdams (The Wedding Crashers) takes a red eye flight back to her home in Miami after attending her grandmother's funeral. It develops that her seatmate (the Irish actor Cillian Murphy, playing an American hit man with hypnotic, creepy brio)is finessing an assassination plot on a high-ranking government official who's staying at the hotel McAdams manages. The entire second act of the film takes place in the plane, a daring contrivance that Craven brings off with great form. What makes this movie Hitchcockian is, of course, the close-quarter threat (Lifeboat, Rope, Rear Window) and the bomb in plain sight/ticking clock element, as McAdams races against time to prevent the assassination and foil Murphy's designs.
But what really stands out about the movie, and I think the reason I bought it after renting it a couple of years ago and forgetting much of the plot, is the incredibly strong female lead. McAdams is sexy, smart, self-reliant and ingenious, and much of the fun of the film is watching Murphy's cocksure assassin lose control of the reins, as McAdams not only fails to be intimidated by him but actually shows herself to be the craftier--because more imaginative, and flexible--of the two.
I recommend this movie unreservedly (pun intended)."
The Flight That Will Keep You Up All Night
AMP | Somewhere on Earth | 07/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Good Things
*Good video quality. Presented in Widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 TVs.
*Contains a few special features; a commentary, a couple of featurettes, and outtakes/bloopers.
*A few well-placed special effects and action scenes.
*Very thrilling and interesting story. It's short and simple, but brilliant and well-made.
*Characters are good. They're not terribly well-developed, but for the first half-hour, the protagonist and antagonist share some interesting and believable interactions. Their conflict later on is more intense that way, too. Acting is great; the bad guy was quite menacing and memorable.
*Pretty good dialogue.
*Just a little bit of violence towards the end; it's a bit gnarly, but nothing too intense (although this can be bad if you're looking for blood and guts).
*My copy came with a cool lenticular slipcover.
The Bad Things
*Slow to start.
*One or two of the characters do act a little dumb (makes you want to shout at them, "Don't do that!" or "Run!!" or something. Could also be considered suspenseful, though).
It's a very classy, simple idea that warrants an intruiging story; what would happen if you're on a plane and forced to help an assasin carry out his mission? The acting makes the story believable, immersive, and fascinating. The final confrontation is gripping. Altogether, despite being short and simple, it's a surprisingly thrilling film."
A winning performance by Rachel McAdams . . .
trebe | 09/20/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Horror specialist Wes Craven's Red Eye (2005) is a thriller that despite some logical snags, and an unlikely conclusion, is still effective and exciting. Brushing the flaws aside is not too difficult, when Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls) delivers a marvelous credible performance that evolves from engaging to riveting. McAdams plays Lisa Reisert, a traveler returning from Dallas, back to Miami. Because she works in reservations and hospitality at a luxury hotel, Lisa becomes the key player in an elaborate plot to murder a VIP guest. A random meeting at the airport with a charming stranger (Cillian Murphy), seems quite innocent, even when the quiet Jackson Rippner winds up in the seat next to Lisa on the red eye flight to Miami. The two seem to be getting along wonderfully, but the light conversation comes to an abrupt end, when Rippner tells Lisa that her father will die, unless she makes a call and gets the targeted guest relocated to a specific room.
This rather weak premise is the lynchpin for everything that happens from here, and though quite tenuous, it still seems to fly. Lisa's world becomes one of fear and anxiety as she tries to find a way out. Most of the screentime is of the pair sitting side by side, engaged in a deadly drama, which somehow remains a private matter between the two. At the opportune moment, Lisa acts decisively, but Jack is quite relentless, leading to an unexpected and violent confrontation.
The inspired performances by Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy, help to smooth over some of the absurdities, and make the film worth watching. The dialog is quite good for a film in this genre, and the action and fighting scenes at the finale are pretty slickly executed under Craven's direction. Rated PG-13, Red Eye has few wasted moments. There are some nice extras that include a couple of featurettes, and a commentary track with director Wes Craven, producer Marianne Maddalena, and editor Patrick Lussier. The film also benefits from Marco Beltrami's effective musical score."