Friday, February 10, 2012

Red Eye. B+

Red Eye is one ending away from being a great movie. If it had just picked a different, better one than the misplaced atrocity here, then it might still be being talked today. Besides the climax, Red Eye is phenomenal, easily one of Wes Craven's best efforts. Craven's name is of course synonymous with the horror genre, but this movie is more a straight up thriller. It stars the great Cillian Murphy and the amiable Rachel McAdams as two strangers on a plane who may be just right for each other-until we learn Murphy is really using her as part of an assassination. The movie is quite brief, only 85 minutes, with most of it taking place in the air. Still, that's quite a long time to make a movie about two people sitting next to each other. Craven makes it one of the most gripping thrillers you'll ever see. This is a movie where, because of its brevity, every scene is crucial. The screenplay by Carl Ellsworth (he wrote Disturbia) is fantastic and deeply clever. Using minimal characters and a closed in space, Ellsworth comes up with nearly every scenario that fits into the logic of the story. We know that eventually the movie will have to reach a conclusion. I would have liked it if it had somehow never left the plane. It does, and at first things are okay. There's a brilliant sequence involving a pen that was fun and remained within the boundaries of plausibility. But then the movie really looses control, and what was an utterly unique thriller becomes an utterly formulaic one. This is a problem in a lot of movies, but here it was especially painful because Craven had crafted something on line with some of the better Hitchcock classics.

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