You go to the cashpoint: it reads “$751,000,000”. You go back to your apartment: it’s packed wall-to-wall with boxes of weapons, passports and explosives. Your phone rings: a female voice tells you the FBI will arrive in 30 seconds. You need to run. You have been activated.
Sounds promising; A techno-thriller that reduxes the Hitchcockian wrong-man-on-therun blueprint. Shia LaBeouf back with Disturbia director DJ Caruso as a broke loser framed as a terrorist and mysteriously guided on a frantic escape with single mom Michelle Monaghan. Co-scripted by the woman who inked Chris Nolan’s hypnotic bleached-white noir Insomnia. Produced by JJ Abrams’ pals Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, alongside Mr Steven Spielberg.
Just one problem: it’s utter, head-spanking nonsense. We’re ruining nothing for you by revealing that this staggeringly ludicrous movie pivots around an omnipotent government surveillance supercomputer that’s gone rogue.
Complete with HAL-style burning eye, it sees and controls everything: trains, traffic lights, doors, phones, cameras, cranes. Implausible? Doesn’t even come close. Oh, we didn’t even mention it can understand human speech. And read lips. And decode voices from vibrations in a coffee cup.
That’s the clanking motor behind Eagle Eye’s increasingly tiresome chase-plot – effectively a ‘get out of jail free’ card for the screenwriters every time they need to springboard out of a narrative hole. In fact, no less than three other scripters have wrestled feebly with the debut screenplay from Dan McDermott, creator of stoopid TV psychiccop series Angela’s Eyes.
None remember that grinning black humour and some thrilling action set-pieces can make even soft-brained hokum forgivable. “The safeguards we put in to
protect our liberty become threats to our liberty itself,” rumbles government scowler Michael Chiklis as the closing credits mercifully approach. LaBeouf stands nodding, sporting an arm-sling, despite having been shot three times at close range in the previous scene. It’s that sort of film.