Picked up a couple of new release DVDs last weekend, so I thought I would do the Siskel & Ebert thing. 🙂
Red Eye was a nice, taut thriller in the Hitchcock vein.Â Despite the shot of the glowing red eye from the trailer, and the fact that it’s directed by horror-meister Wes Craven, there isn’t any supernatural content whatsoever (that “red eye” from the trailer never appears in the movie.)Â The plot is pretty straightforward, but thanks to solid performances from leads Rachel McAdams (from The Notebook) and Cillian Murphy (the Scarecrow in Batman Begins), still really suspenseful.Â Lisa Reisert finds herself trapped on a plane in a classic no-win situation: the man in the seat next to her is part of an assassination plot.Â If she cooperates with him, someone will die.Â If she refuses to cooperate, or tries to warn anyone what is going to happen, or doesn’t make the call they want made in time for the plot to go off right, the assassin’s “trigger man” stationed outside her dad’s house will kill her father.Â The whole movie revolves around Lisa’s increasingly creative and desperate attempts to wriggle out of the ever-tightening noose of this situation.
Rachel McAdams is very believable as the generally compliant, people-pleasing Lisa.Â And Cillian Murphy is alternately charming and terrifying.Â It’s rated PG-13 for some violence and language, but on the whole is a pretty decent flick.
Next up, V for Vendetta with Hugo Weaving (Mr. Smith from the Matrix movies and Elrond from the LOTR) and Natalie Portman.Â The writers have pretty faithfully adapted the original Alan Moore comic book.Â (Which is worth mentioning: the original comic was written in the 80’s–so any similarity, real or imagined, to current events is entirely coincidental.Â Interesting to debate about, but coincidental.) The acting is pretty solid throughout.Â Â There are a couple of action sequences that will appeal to the “butt kicking counts for something in the total rating” crowd.Â The settings and costumes and other eye candy are beautifully well done–the visual feel of the film is flawlessly executed.Â And it raises a lot of good questions that it doesn’t make any attempt to answer, making it a good conversation starter for adults.
That said, it’s not a family-friendly movie.Â There are a lot of adult themes and content in this movie.Â Portman’s character is confronted by what amounts to a group of Nazi color-guard members and it’s pretty clear they intend to rape her (until V shows up).Â Another scene shows a powerful cleric who is regularly provided with young girls as his “compensation.”Â Two prominent characters are gay or lesbian (and in fact, their sexuality is a fairly significant part of the plot), and a scene about the fascist fictional government’s “roundup” of anyone different briefly shows soldiers breaking into a bedroom and dragging two sleeping men out of bed and “black bagging” them.Â The “hero” of the movie is a vigilante with no compunctions about blowing up large public buildings, committing what are, in fact, acts of terrorism, and killing corrupt officials out of personal vengeance as much as anything else.
All that said, the film manages to take relevant questions, set them in a near-future that seems frighteningly possible, and leave the audience to reach their own conclusions.
Well, that’s about it.Â 🙂