Lisa Schwarzbaum
October 03, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Eagle Eye

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
Wide Release Date
09/26/08
performer
Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, Billy Bob Thornton
director
D.J. Caruso
author
John Glenn, Dan McDermott, Hillary Seitz, Travis Wright
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it an C

George Orwell’s preposterous declaration in 1984 has come true: Big Brother is watching me and you and everyone we know, documenting us on surveillance cameras, capturing our cell phone, Internet, and AT M activity, and tracking our whereabouts as we drive hybrid vehicles outfitted with satellite guidance systems. So Eagle Eye, a brain-squandering thriller starring Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, and cell phones they insist upon answering, is onto something with its future-is-now premise of ordinary citizens blackmailed by infernal technology. But the movie (which began as a byte of an idea from exec producer Steven Spielberg) is so hysterical in its terrorist subplot and its seizure-inducing action sequences that a pummeled viewer can be excused for texting WTF? to a friend in the middle of the chaos. Especially when the commands come from an unseen female mastermind with the voice of a GPS console reciting driving directions. (Sometimes she flashes additional info via electronic signage — like Steve Martin did for laffs in L.A. Story.)

LaBeouf and Monaghan grimace and run fast as ordinary citizens snared (by ludicrous circumstances) into abetting the enemy; Billy Bob Thornton and Rosario Dawson evince similar mood swings as FBI agents. But none is charismatic enough to override the prattlings of Eagle Eye herself, or to jolt us into realizing that this movie actually means to say serious stuff: We can run but we can’t hide. C

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