Red Eye

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Movie Review by Toby White

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Laura Johnson, Max Kasch

Director: Wes Craven

In an age where movie marketing seems to clutch at the most tenuous of credits to plug a film (“Featuring the catering team that worked on etc etc”) sometimes it’s not always advisable to push a film on the back of a track record. If you set up the expectation and, heaven forbid, it’s a lousy movie it not only bombs at the box office but discredits the very person it’s counting on. Human fallibility (and the fickle nature of an audience) dictates that you’ll never be able to turn out hit after hit after hit. Even Spielberg has his off days. So, “From the creator of the SCREAM franchise”… oh, dear.

Rachel McAdams is a hotel concierge on her way back to work in Miami after a trip home. She strikes up a rapport with Cillian Murphy while waiting for their plane and, amazingly, they happen to have adjoining seats when they finally board. But the dashing Mr Murphy is not all he seems. He’s been following her and now gives her an ultimatum to either comply with his plans involving a political assassination or her father gets it. It’s a ridiculously hackneyed plotline just to give weight to what was probably a one-line idea written on the back of an envelope.

There’s a distinctively ’80s feel about RED EYE. And, come to think of it, it would have been a cracking film in the 80s. The dialogue, the incidental characters, the over-the-top score, the one-liners that raise a nervous laugh and even the finale would all have created quite a thrilling…thriller. But now it just seems farcical. There are a few surprises (“He’s behind the shower curtain!” Ah, but he’s not…) and for the odd fleeting moment the suspense bar is raised on the plane – after all, Craven has done this before – but not enough to prevent this becoming laughable.

I can imagine the execs all sitting round after a test screening…”Okay, guys, what do we do? The film sucks but we may as well plug it, go for the quick buck based on Wes’s name selling the film and hope we break even. The kids are probably gonna love it anyway.”

2 out of 6 stars