Friday, September 02, 2005

RED EYE - thrills and spills at thirty thousand feet

RED EYE is a taught thriller that provides the requisite gasps of horror, chases, fights and finally a schmaltzy ending. It doesn't tinker with the genre, or have pretensions beyond its basic mission, which is to hook us into a scary story, and watch it play out amidst an atmosphere of escalating tension. The set up is that Lisa Reisert is the manager of a hotel in Miami where an important US politician is going to stay. Nasty terrorists want him moved to a specific suite wherein it will be easier to assassinate him. To this end, they kidnap her father and, through their plant in the airplane seat next to her, force her to call her hotel and have the VIP guest moved. A large part of the movie takes place in the confines of the plane, and adds to the claustrophobia and rising fear at the limited options available to our heroine. But what really makes this film special is the superlative acting. The heroine is played by Rachel McAdams. She has been great in a bunch of mediocre movies, and I can't wait to see her get her teeth into a meatier role. The charming young man on the plane is played by Cillian Murphy - an Irish actor of great talent - notably in 28 Days Later, Batman Begins and the forthcoming Breakfast on Pluto. Finally, we have heavyweight Brian Cox in a brief part as Lisa's dad. I really can't fault RED EYE. At under an hour and a half it is a perfectly crafted thriller. It just goes to show that in this age of spoofs, post-modern ironies and overly worked editing, if you stick to the basics you can still turn out a great movie.

RED EYE went on release in the US in August and goes on release in the UK today. It hits Germany and Austria next week, and reaches France on October 26th 2006.

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