Monday, January 30, 2006
Red Eye is a suck-fest
Red Eye (2005) *1/2
Setting the perfect movie-viewing ambiance with my fireplace blazing and a tumbler-sized glass of wine in hand, I happily settled into my Saturday night with a bevy of movies to choose from. After flipping through pages and pages of recently copied DVDs, I ultimately settled upon Wes Craven’s latest. I’ve heard mixed things about this film ranging from, “It’s great” to “Don’t bother”. Never one to believe anyone’s horror opinion (Octopunk and Summerisle aside), I decided to take a chance and risk 90 more minutes of my uneventful life.
Lisa (Rachel McAdams) plays a hotel worker on route to her grandmother’s funeral. Lisa is not just any hotel worker mind you; she’s apparently the world’s greatest hotel worker. Although her title is never made clear, it is immediately established that others bow when her name is mentioned, red tape is removed, hurdles are cleared, and problems are rectified when she's involved. None of this makes any sense, of course, but whatever. Killing time in an airport lounge while waiting for her much-delayed flight to resume, Lisa meets Jackson (the creepy-looking Cillian Murphy), a charming, chivalrous businessman who is coincidentally on the same flight. The two hit it off right away and happily kill time conversing and boozing it up. When their plane finally boards Lisa is pleased to find that her seat is adjacent to, you guessed it, Jackson. However, soon after their plane takes off Jackson makes his evil intentions clear. I’ll give away a little bit more; Jackson presents Lisa with an ultimatum; either call her hotel and arrange to have the head of homeland security and his family moved to a different room or her father will be assassinated.
The majority of Red Eye takes place on the airplane as Lisa agonizes over how to rectify this situation without anyone getting hurt. Like every single Ron Howard movie, you never for one second believe that anyone is going to be harmed. Characters fall into two dichotomous categories either perfect, with hearts of gold or pure evil. This is standard paint-by-numbers suspense without any attempt at originality. Moreover, Jackson’s overarching “evil” plan is needlessly complicated and relies on a number of variables to line up perfectly in order to be realized (think of Luke’s unwieldy plan to escape Jabba the Hutt at the Great Pit of Carkoon). With very slight edits (I’m talking 1-2 seconds here), Red Eye could’ve easily been put on NBC’s schedule as a movie-of-the-week. Terrible.