Red Eye
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Wes Craven
scr Carl Ellsworth
with Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Jayma Mays, Jack Scalia, Beth Toussaint, Brittany Oaks, Angela Paton, Kyle Gallner, Amber Mead, Rand Gamble, Amanda Young
release US 19.Aug.05, UK 2.Sep.05
05/US DreamWorks 1h25

Let me out of here: McAdams and Murphy

mcadams murphy cox

Click here to buy posters! Support Shadows: Buy a Poster

Red Eye There's a crackling B-movie vibe to this gripping little thriller, which keeps itself finely focused on two characters without too many big effects or silly set-pieces. It's not a great film, but Craven certainly knows the story's strengths, and really grabs us.

Miami hotel manager Lisa (McAdams) is steeling herself for an overnight flight home from Dallas, when she finds herself seated next to the charming Jackson (Murphy). Their witty banter soon descends into something much more sinister, as Lisa realises that her father (Cox) is in danger, as are some prominent guests in her hotel. She's in a helpless situation on the plane, but she's also an inventive lateral thinker with a desperate plan. Or two.

The claustrophobic atmosphere in the plane is terrific. Our brains spin for a solution to this seemingly impossible situation, and for once the heroine and villain both outthink us. It's not particularly tight logic, but it's good enough to keep us gasping for air as we wait for the next wrinkle in the tale. All of this lets up slightly once the plane touches down in Miami. We still have about 20 minutes of rampaging action, which follows much more traditional movie conventions, although with clever, witty touches.

McAdams and Murphy make a terrific couple; there's real chemistry between them, in every conceivable way. And as McAdams gets increasingly heroic, Murphy matches every step with sheer villainy. They balance each other perfectly, and hold the film's centre tightly, while side characters like Cox and Mays (as Lisa's assistant) have to settle for extremely small but pivotal roles.

Craven sets the tone with Marco Beltrami's big action score and a perplexing opening scene that pulls us into the mystery. We're then thrust into the everyday annoyances of air travel--obnoxious people, irritating announcements, time-wasting delays. By the time we get to the plane, we're as ruffled as Lisa is, so Craven has us right where he wants us. And he never lets go. This is one of the most relentlessly enjoyable thrillers since the similarly plotted Cellular--spine-tingling and totally engulfing if you go with it.

cert 12 themes, violence, language 3.Aug.05

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Red Eye JaceK, California: 3/5 "Cillian Murphy rocks! This film surpassed my expectations! What a great thriller. Wes Craven has made one of his best films ever, if not the best!" (14.Sep.05)
2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall