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Red Eye - Review

Red Eye

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Filmmakers Commentary; Making Of Red Eye; Gag Reel; Wes Craven A New Kind Of Thriller.

IN TERMS of in-flight entertainment, Red Eye offers a first class experience. It’s only once the film has landed that the turbulence sets in.

The film is directed with ruthless efficiency by Wes Craven, who makes the leap from horror to suspense thriller seamlessly.

The set-up is simple. Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is a Miami-based hotel manager who is about to embark on a rushed red-eye flight from Dallas to Miami.

She is the consumate professional – focused, determined and always willing to please, so when bad weather delays her flight, she plays her part in keeping the frustrated passengers calm.

Enter charming fellow traveller, Jackson (Cillian Murphy), who helps her to calm down a distressed passenger and then spends the minutes before their flight chatting pleasantly in the bar with her.

Fate appears to be taking over when the two find themselves sitting next to each other on the ensuing flight.

Once they have taken off, however, Lisa quickly discovers that Jackson is too good to be true.

He is, in fact, a ruthless cog in a plan to assassinate the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security (Jack Scalia), who just happens to be staying at the hotel Lisa works at and she is the key to its success.

f she refuses to co-operate, her own father (Brian Cox) will be killed by an assassin waiting outside her home.

Trapped within the confines of a plane at 30,000 feet, Lisa must therefore figure out a way of saving her father and the Deputy Secretary as well as protecting her own life and those of her fellow passengers.

The ensuing thriller is tremendous fun while airborn, making maximum use of its claustrophobic environment to crack up the tension to the absolute maximum.

The battle of wits between Lisa and Jackson is very well played, with McAdams providing a deft mix of fear and determination, and Murphy (recently seen as The Scarecrow in Batman Begins) switching between menace and charm with equal aplomb.

Once the plane touches down, however, and Craven has the whole of Miami to play with, he seems to lose control of both his plot and his characters – who resort to tired genre cliches and contrived stupidity.

It is during the final section that the film loses its grip on the audience and its faults become all too apparent – a double disappointment considering the quality of a taut TV series like 24, which manages to maintain its standards for 16 hours rather than a mere 85 minutes.

If you’re prepared for such a bumpy landing, however, then Red Eye does provide a suitably exciting piece of escapism that’s enlivened by the presence of two of Hollywood’s emerging talents.

Just don’t expect to become a frequent flyer in terms of repeat viewing.

Certificate: 12A