While covering Comic-Con Movieweb was invited to special sneak preview of Wes Craven’s newest thriller Red Eye at the Pacific Gaslight Theater in Downtown San Diego. Produced by DreamWorks Pictures this film will be hitting theaters nationwide on August 19th. This screening was packed to the gills with an enthusiastic audience that seemed be hanging on every twist and turn Craven and Co. threw their way.
Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) hates to fly, but the terror that awaits her on the night flight to Miami has nothing to do with a fear of flying. Moments after takeoff, Lisa's seat mate, Jackson (Cillian Murphy), menacingly reveals the real reason he's on board: He is an operative in a plot to kill the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security…and Lisa is the key to its success. If she refuses to cooperate, her own father will be killed by an assassin awaiting a call from Jackson.
Trapped within the confines of a jet at 30,000 feet, Lisa has nowhere to run and no way to summon help without endangering her father, her fellow passengers and her own life. As the miles tick by, Lisa knows she is running out of time as she desperately looks for a way to thwart her ruthless captor and stop a terrible murder. The screenplay was written by Carl Ellsworth from a story by Ellsworth and Dan Foos. Rachel McAdams (The Notebook, Mean Girls upcoming Wedding Crashers) and Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Girl With a Pearl Earring and Batman Begins) are starring in the film.
Rachel McAdams cements her status as one of the finest young actresses currently working today. She has such an “everygirl” beauty and through the roles she’s played, has established a wide range of acting abilities, that I think her career is going to become even more interesting as it progresses. She imbues the role of Lisa with such a controlled freneticness, that when she finally starts to fight back against Jackson it’s very reminiscent of Stallone’s eventual retaliation in the 1980s gem Lock Up. What I think sets McAdam’s apart from so many of her contemporaries is the fact no matter what she’s doing she’s believable. Whether she is women caught between two lovers or a girl in high school with a mean streak, I honestly think that her performances never strike a false note.
Cillian Murphy also seems to be cementing the promise he showed in 28 Days Later. While I haven’t seen too many of his films, I feel he brought a romantic depth to the character of Jackson. Not good looking in the classical sense, the first half hour of this movie feels almost like a romantic comedy (I was actually rooting for them to get together!). When Murphy starts turning up the heat and reveals to Lisa his true intentions, he very slowly shows his characters true colors and intentions. I think we will see him in bigger supporting roles (probably against the likes of people like Tom Hanks or Russell Crowe) and eventually he will move up to be a true leading man.
Red Eye is a solidly well made thriller. I think that there could have been more thrills and chills during the long stretches on the plane (and they certainly could have gotten to them sooner), but this film does move at a pretty fast pace and as a result it seems like one that people are going to want to watch more then once. Wes Craven again shows us why he is the master of this genre and I think it’s inspiring to see someone who has such a large body of work behind him, not rest on his laurels for a single moment. Every film he makes seems almost like a statement that while fads come and go, he is someone who has remained true to his talent (and who he is) from day one. Nothing could be a better example of this then “Red Eye”, the first airplane thriller in a post 9/11 world. Craven’s steady hand never calls attention to this, but rather enhances it with solid storytelling.