Blurred vision

Fun enough to watch, but this thriller is mostly fueled by clichés

Eagle Eye
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Billy Bob Thornton and Rosario Dawson. Directed by D.J. Caruso. Rated PG-13.
Rated 2.0

If George Orwell had written 2008 instead of 1984, this might be how he envisioned it, though probably with less violence and fewer car chases.

Eagle Eye is yet another Big-Brother-is-watching movie that illustrates just how vulnerable we all are to technology. And it starts out with your garden-variety (these days, anyway) Middle East terrorism scene.

So, from the get-go, this film is a cliché. At least they establish that early on, because from there on out, you can watch it for pure enjoyment rather than trying to solve the plot-hole crises or predict the next scene. Luckily, the storyline does turn out to have a few twists that keep you guessing.

Two people, plucked as if at random, start getting strange phone calls and become tools of an unknown power player who has threatened their lives. These strangers, Jerry (Shia LaBeouf) and Rachel (Michelle Monaghan), seemingly have nothing in common. Jerry is a college dropout who works at a copy shop; Rachel is a paralegal and single mother whose son just left for a band trip to Washington, D.C.

A series of crazy tech-effects later, and the two are wanted by the FBI but helped along by their mystery caller. All they know is that if they don’t obey, their lives—or the lives of their families—are in danger.

LaBeouf is just plain fun to watch, with his quick wit and impeccable delivery. And he’s joined by bigwigs Billy Bob Thornton, as the FBI agent in charge of his case, and Rosario Dawson, who plays an investigator from the Air Force.

The film, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by D.J. Caruso (who also directed LaBeouf in Disturbia), is fun enough to watch that it almost makes up for the cliché-ridden plot. But then you see the thinly veiled political messages about Bush’s war policy and treatment of terror suspects—and the blatant message that technology runs our lives—and it’s hard to stop the eye rolls that follow.