Red Eye

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner31/08/2005

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 85 mins

If you’re a regular film-goer you may well already be aware from the trailers that there are not one but two plane-based thrillers currently heading your way. First to land is Wes Craven’s Red Eye, a trashy, entertaining ‘B’ movie in the tradition of recent thrillers such as Cellular and Phone Booth. It should serve as a suitable appetiser for the Jodie Foster-starring Flight Plan, scheduled to open at the end of October.

The Story

Rachel McAdams (currently one of America’s hottest actresses, after Mean Girls and The Notebook) stars as Lisa, who’s catching the red eye flight to Miami in order to return to her job as the manager of a five star hotel. In the check-in queue she meets twinkly-eyed and unfortunately-named Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy), who persuades her to have a drink with him whilst they wait.

When she boards the plane, she’s surprised to find herself seated next to Rippner, but he quickly reveals his ulterior motives. Rippner is organising a hit on a high-profile target at her hotel and she has to make a phone call or her father (Brian Cox) will die.

The Characters

McAdams makes an extremely likeable heroine and there’s a genuine chemistry between her and Murphy that distracts you from the fact that not that much actually happens whilst the plane is in the air.

Murphy continues to capitalise on his line in charismatic villains (after his role in Batman Begins) and his character seems to have genuine feelings for Lisa, especially when she reveals a traumatic incident in her past. It’s a shame that the film abandons this promising plot development in favour of a more traditional stalk-and-slash approach in the final act.

The Good

There’s a vaguely cheeky 9/11 vibe to Red Eye, which doesn’t quite work, although it does give the film a slightly subversive edge. The claustrophobic sequences on the plane are very effective, with the protagonists communicating in urgent whispers.

There’s also a terrific use of props throughout the movie, most of which are inventively used as weapons – particularly notable are the pen, the chair, the vase, the fire-extinguisher and, my personal favourite, the hockey stick. Craven’s direction is brisk and efficient – he packs in fights, chase scenes, suspense sequences and explosions and still manages to wrap up the movie in just over 80 minutes.

The Bad

Craven may have managed to include a skimpy top scene that is –gasp- relevant to the plot however, the third act of the film is disappointingly weak in places and opens up too many annoying plot-holes.

The Conclusion

In short, Red Eye is an entertaining ‘B’ movie that survives the wobbles of its turbulent third act thanks to its engaging performances and a couple of refreshing changes from the usual formula. Worth seeing.

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Red Eye
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Content updated: 09/12/2019 17:34

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