Red Eye (2005)

7 Mar

936full-red-eye-screenshot

Smith’s Verdict: ***

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

“Red Eye” is a psychological thriller that handles such elements of the genre the right way, while also admiring Rachel McAdams. She has turned so well into a movie star and as the Woman in Peril in “Red Eye,” the camera and script never let us stray away from seeing how plausible, convincing, and (let’s face it) beautiful she is. The Woman in Peril is a hard character to pull off in a movie like this. The wrong actress could easily overact to the terror happening to her character. But not Rachel McAdams—she remains convincing all the way through. Her weapons against a terrorist who made her red-eye flight miserable are a pen, a cane, and a hockey stick. Well of course, those are common weapons of choice.

McAdams plays Lisa Reisert, a hotel desk manager who catches a red-eye flight to Florida after bad weather cancels out her regular flight. Taking over her job temporarily at the hotel is her friend, who is not exactly qualified to handle situations that require…well, much thinking. At the bar in the airport, she meets a charming young man named Jack Rippner (get it?) and strikes up a conversation with him. And then they wind up sitting next to each other on the plane.

This sounds like the opening for a romantic drama. But Jack is definitely NOT the charming young man she met at the airport. Once the plane takes off and the two sit together, his personality transforms into something quite sinister. Jack is a terrorist and he tells her (softly) that her father is taken hostage and will be let go when she makes a call to the hotel to schedule a government agent to be booked in a different room than he already was. Then he will be assassinated. Lisa tries to find a way out of this nasty situation and goes through many threatening confrontations and conversations. It’s almost a wonder why these go unnoticed by the stewardesses, but then again this is a busy flight. The airplane scenes are handled in a plausible way.

Cillian Murphy plays Jack. He’s handsome, but his looks come with a warning. The way he handles Lisa in many moments in which she tries sneakily to get out of this situation is so sinister, it too is convincing. Cillian Murphy does a good job of switching tones in his personality. First he’s pleasant and polite. Then he’s…how many times do I have to use the word “sinister?” You get the point, I hope.

Now the final half of the film is your standard killer-in-the-house climax. I would’ve wanted something a bit more original. Who knows what you could do in an airport terminal? But still, McAdams remains plausible and convincing. I loved that her character was not dumb but a woman who is bright and thinks of what she would do; we feel for her. She has presence and credibility—she’s not one of those thriller victims are simply running around and screaming. She’s given something very specific to do and her scenes with Murphy are very effective. These two are great together.

Craven’s previous work included slasher films such as “Nightmare on Elm Street” and the “Scream” movies. Here, he gives us as little blood as possible and moves on to psychological tensions. The final half of the film may be a bit too conventional but for the most part of “Red Eye,” he succeeds in making a psychological thriller that works.

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