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RED EYE by Wes Craven

rachel mcadams cillian murphy red eyeLisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams), a highly competent hotel desk clerk of a luxury hotel, is on her way back home from the funeral of her grandmother. While waiting for the delayed last flight of the day, she meets charming Jackson Ripner (Cillian Murphy) who is waiting for the same flight. A little flirting helps Lisa to overcome her fear of flying, and she is glad to find Jackson her seat neighbour instead of the typical nightmare neighbours like crying children, obnoxious grumblers or marathon speakers.
But when the flight takes off, Jackson coldly tells Lisa that he is not her neighbour by chance, and that his profession is assassination, and no, he’s not working for the CIA – and that Lisa will have to help killing the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security who stays in her hotel.
If she does not call her colleague Cynthia in the hotel and arranges him to be booked in a certain room, her father will be killed. Her attempts to alarm the airline crew or other passengers fail, and time runs short to save both the Deputy Secretary and her father.

After a long time, Wes Craven finally delivers a good movie again. It starts a bit like an old ‘Airport’ movie from the 70’s when Lisa meets various passengers before she boards her plane, then takes on a hitchcockian vibe when Jackson reveals his plans (innocent in the grip of evil against all odds, a big part of the film taking place in a confined space – two seats on an aircraft).
The acting is excellent, Rachel McAdams totally believable both as competent businesswoman and woman in peril, and Cillian Murphy bringing another villain to menacing life after his brilliant ‘Scarecrow’ in BATMAN BEGINS. What keeps this from being a clean 4-star-movie is that one huge plot hole right before the finale. Shame on the scriptwriter Carl Ellsworth who developed a really fine script except from this one big mistake. (Well, the film would have a running time of only 60 or 70 minutes instead of 85 would this hole have been stuffed.)
Suspend your disbelief and take this ride for a decent thriller that depends on actors and dialogue instead of explosions and CGI!

One Response to “RED EYE by Wes Craven”

  1. Movie Review » FLIGHTPLAN by Robert Schwentke Says:

    […] The trailer seems to promise a psychological thriller ? la Hitchcock or M. Night Shyalaman – is Julia dead or alive, was she ever on board of the plane or not, that seems to be the question. But this plot is underdeveloped and unconvincing – you never really believe that Julia is just on board in Kyle’s imagination. You just wonder what’s up with those knowing glances the crew and the passengers exchange as soon as Kyle starts looking for Julia. Are these glances a hint for the audience of a conspiracy going on (Kyle strangeley never seems to notice them) or just bad acting? This put aside, Jodie Foster is superb and convincing as wife in mourning and as anxious mother, keeping it just slightly this side of hysteria. The same can be said about Sean Bean – if you ever happen to be on a plane in trouble, you wish to have a flight captain like him. Peter Sarsgaard’s air marshal however seems to be just very sleepy. When it’s clear for Kyle (and the audience) that Julia has really been kidnapped, the plot moves into a more conventional direction – it’s DIE HARD, or maybe PANIC ROOM, on a plane, with Jodie Foster – and another complicately constructed and implausible sinister plan on a plane – a bit like RED EYE, but less entertaining. Which is a problem, because the ‘psychological thriller’ aspect fails, and what’s left is lots of serious drama, the constructed plot, and a serious lack of humor (in fact, there is only one slightly funny scene when a passenger is immediately convinced Kyle is right when she suspects some Arabs are involved in the kidnapping of Julia and is ready to assault them on the spot). This and some other slapped-on allusions on 9/11 feel just like that – slapped-on without contributing to the story. When you want to see just one airplane-thriller this year, watch FLIGHTPLAN for serious drama and Jodie Foster, but watch RED EYE when you are looking for entertainment! […]

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