RED EYE

 

Review by Mark Walters

 

Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is a highly respected hotel concierge headed home from Dallas to Miami to see her dad. Back in Miami, her father (Brian Cox) is preparing to spend a quiet evening at home watching a stand-up comedy marathon. Lisa's hotel is in the unskilled hands of a new girl named Cynthia (Jayma Mays), who is nervously trying to prepare for the arrival of the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security (Jack Scalia). Her frantic calls for advice make Lisa feel that much more desperate to get back. But the airline throws a wrench into things when her flight gets severely delayed. Now the passengers, all rather on edge, have to take a red eye flight which won't get them into Miami until the next morning. During her wait Lisa meets a gentleman by the name of Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy), who appears to be as sincere as he is charming. They have a drink at the bar while they wait, and soon learn they are sitting next to one another on the flight home. At first Jackson seems like a nice travel companion, but he eventually reveals that their connection on the plane was anything but coincidence. Lisa discovers she's actually part of a plot to kill the Deputy Secretary when he arrives at her hotel. To up the ante, Jackson is using her father as collateral to force her into complying. Now Lisa must decide if she can go through with this horrible act in order to keep her father alive.

When I originally saw the trailer for this film, knowing that Wes Craven directed it, I guess I was expecting a horror film set on a plane. The teaser played out in a very cryptic manner, showing a girl on a plane, with a passenger sitting next to her who was scary for an unknown reason. Ends up this is anything but a horror film. Instead it's a tense thriller done in the vein of films like NICK OF TIME or CELLULAR. Craven is proving he can do more than just horror movies, and it pretty refreshing here. Rachel McAdams plays a very likable heroine. She's attractive and confident when she needs to be, and convincingly frightened when faced with intense circumstances. Cillian Murphy is making quite an impression on American audiences, first with BATMAN BEGINS, and now with this. He knows how to play the creepy guy really well. It's particularly impressive since he spends the first half of the film as an endearing and suave fellow, then makes an effective turn as the real story is revealed. The supporting roles are just that, as this movie is all about the two main characters. Jayma Mays is pretty funny as the naive hotel assistant, and it's a safe bet we'll be seeing more of her after this. Brian Cox is sadly underused here, making me wonder why they didn't cast a less-prestigious actor. I will say his presence here adds a level of implied quality that might not have been around otherwise. The story isn't anything dramatically new, but it's done well. Wes Craven does a fine job of building suspense, and directs this with a taut style, easily derived from his previous scary films. Though there are a few "run from the bad guy" moments in the film, it spends most of it's time on the plane, where there's nowhere to run, and that's probably why it works so well. While many details are explained, there are some that aren't, like who is really calling the shots behind the assassination plot. I actually liked the fact that it wasn't all thrown in our face. It puts us in Lisa's shoes, and besides, the biggest concern is whether or not the plot can be stopped. Marco Beltrami's intense score also complements the movie very well. I'm a big fan of these types of films. (Movies like BLACK SUNDAY come to mind) I like the movie overall, though as I said it's been done before. While it's not revolutionary, it is fairly entertaining. After seeing RED EYE, I'm curious to see what other types of films Craven could do. I mean he's done the horror thing time and time again. It's time to branch out. Maybe other directors will follow suit. Can you imagine George Romero doing a courtroom drama? Well, maybe that's pushing it.

BIGFANBOY.com score - On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best, I give RED EYE an 8.


Visit the official Universal Pictures RED EYE movie website by clicking here.

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