Red Eye

on August 19, 2005 by Tim Cogshell
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Director Wes Craven's work outside of his usual horror genre, which includes the iconic "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Scream" series, among many others, can be intriguing. "Music of the Heart" was a pithy 1999 melodrama about a violin teacher working with inner-city schoolkids that earned star Meryl Streep an Academy Award nomination and Craven credit for being more versatile than 30 years of previous filmmaking suggested. That said, the non-horror thriller "Red Eye" doesn't suggest much of anything. It's a wholly pro-forma movie culled together from fairly rote ideas found in any number films, most of which are generally no better or worse than this one. It moves through its paces competently but with little inspiration and even less real interest -- this despite the fact that thrillers are close cousins to horror films, which ought to put them squarely in Craven's milieu.

Rachel McAdams ("Wedding Crashers," "The Notebook") is Lisa Reisert, a crack hotel management specialist at a fancy Miami high-rise where she has all the answers and the power to make things happen. While in the airport she meets a charming young man named Jackson (Cillian Murphy, "Batman Begins," "28 Days Later") with whom she has a drink and later finds herself seated next to on her return flight. In short order, Jackson reveals his true self and his intention, which is to blackmail Lisa into participating in a scheme to assassinate the Deputy Director of Homeland Security -- or he'll have her father killed.

And there it is. Lisa, beautiful and smart and vulnerable, must figure a way out of this nefarious scenario. Actually, technically, it's the filmmakers who have to figure a way out of this situation... and they don't. At least not without a good many contrivances, happenstances and implausibilities, all of which will stand out like a sore thumb to discerning audiences and matter very little to those who think Rachel McAdams is cute. Starring Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Jayma Mays and Jack Scalia. Directed by Wes Craven. Written by Carl Ellsworth. Produced by Chris Bender and Marianne Maddalena. A DreamWorks release. Thriller. Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence, and language. Running time. 85 min

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