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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.59%
Worth A Look36.27%
Average: 19.61%
Pretty Bad: 12.75%
Total Crap: 10.78%

9 reviews, 48 user ratings

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Red Eye
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Empty thrills from a director who should know better."
2 stars

It isn't enough to enjoy playing a psychopath; you must also convey some wit, or some pathos, or at least some shading.

In Wes Craven's hollowly efficient Red Eye, Cillian Murphy, who seems to be grooming himself as the movies' next Creepy Man after Batman Begins, plays a sort of assassination go-between. This sociopath, who goes by the name Jackson Rippner (oh, please -- I guess we should be thankful his middle initial isn't D), isn't really a hands-on hit man; he facilitates murders, gets everything neatly set up for the real assassins. A movie about such a character might be intriguing -- haven't you ever wondered who does all the research for hired killers? Do they have staff reference librarians?

Murphy, however, plays Rippner mostly as a stone-cold desperate psycho (which is also mostly how he's written). Even in his early scenes, when he insinuates himself into the trust of hotel employee Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams), he betrays nothing human, nothing that would suggest an actual person doing this disagreeable job. And in a thriller in which we spend most of our time with these two people, that hurts. After Rippner and Lisa are seated together on a late flight according to his plan, he drops his amiable act fast and lays down the rules: Lisa must move the head of Homeland Security from one hotel room to another, or else Rippner will make a call to a hit man loitering outside the house of Lisa's dad (Brian Cox).

It's an extremely movie-ish premise -- we have to believe that only Lisa has the clout to get that room re-assigned, and that the head of Homeland Security would even remember her (part of the plan is contingent on Lisa's people skills). Hitchcock, of course, got lots of mileage out of just such absurd plots. But Wes Craven, whatever other strengths he has, isn't Hitchcock. His talent lies in inspired nastiness and ruthlessness, but there's only so far he can push the envelope in a PG-13 thriller, and Jackson Rippner is not, to put it kindly, one of the more memorable icons of fear from the man who gave us Freddy Krueger, Ghostface, and the anarchic brutes of Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes.

Red Eye gets in and out fast -- it's only 85 minutes long -- but at times it seems not even movie-ish, but TV-movie-ish. (Craven has done his share of work for the tube, as has his screenwriter here, Carl Ellsworth, who penned, among other things, the first Halloween episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- not one of the show's highlights, as I recall.) The film becomes a routine cat-and-mouse game, with the ice-blooded Rippner putting increasing pressure on the flawless Lisa. To up the ante -- so that the audience won't shrug and say "Who cares all that much if the Homeland Security guy dies?" -- the politician's family is also put in jeopardy, and Rachel McAdams does make us believe that Lisa wouldn't be able to live with herself if she colluded, however unwillingly and under duress, in multiple murder. Of course, Craven also keeps cutting back to Lisa's dad at home, mostly dozing in front of the TV. The movie is generally too humorless to find any wit in the contrast between Lisa's plight and her dad's heavy-lidded obliviousness to it. Poor Brian Cox, left with little to do except snore.

One actor comes through: Jayma Mays gives an amusingly insecure performance as a rookie at Lisa's hotel, who in Lisa's absence finds herself dealing with rude customers, visiting politicians, and a wayward missile. Ah, yes. The climax involves both a rocket launcher and a vengeful Rippner, sucking in gurgly air from a wound in his throat (Craven, amazingly, fails to make this detail creepy) and wielding a big knife. It's the kind of climax in which we realize, with something of a contemptuous chuckle, why we were earlier shown a photo of Lisa on her school curling team -- so that she could find the curling stick in her old bedroom and whack Rippner with it.

Obviously unintentionally, 'Red Eye' has been fortuitously cast: The Scarecrow from 'Batman Begin's versus the ingenue from last month's surprise hit 'Wedding Crashers.' I wondered how much more fun the film might've been if it had been Brian Cox in Murphy's role and Jayma Mays in McAdams' role. Or, hell, McAdams as the cold-blooded killer and Murphy as the white-knuckled hotel clerk. At least McAdams would've looked more fetching in the throat-wound-concealing purple scarf than Murphy does.

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originally posted: 01/28/07 04:37:50
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User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell tight & tense 4 stars
9/20/15 James Doesn't deserve a star. Waste of talent. 1 stars
10/01/12 Mike grant Terrible. I can't believe how stupid this film becomes at the end. 1 stars
6/20/12 Turd Ferguson Murphy is amazing, McAdams is gorgeous, the rest of the movie is a disaster 1 stars
10/07/10 LKim This crap deserves 2 stars at most, but I'm giving it 3 cause Murphy did incredible with it 3 stars
11/24/09 Albert Valentin Cillian Murphy is great in this! Very disturbing role and great movie! 5 stars
8/03/09 Rachel never knew what to expect next! 5 stars
8/21/08 Shaun Wallner The storyline is well made! 4 stars
4/27/07 Total Crap I'm giving it 2 stars cuz of suspense, But the story is bland and redundant. It sucks. 2 stars
2/19/07 Nick Maday By itself, it was pretty good. Compared to Cursed, it was a masterpiece. 4 stars
2/10/07 MP Bartley It gets in, it gets out, it gets the job done with panache. Murphy is great. 4 stars
1/30/07 Matt Don't try and read too much into it. Instantly forgettable, but perfectly watchable. 4 stars
1/10/07 Anthony Feor It's like gravol before a plane flight 2 stars
10/03/06 bullit16 Best thing I can say about this? McAdams sure is pretty 2 stars
9/28/06 MMB We were very disappointed. Was pretty good until the plane landed, then got cheesy. 2 stars
8/28/06 Ryan_A Murphy's nice and creepy, and McAdams is good. The movie, not so much. 2 stars
8/26/06 Stanley Thai It's an average thriller with great acting. 3 stars
8/16/06 xxx A great thriller...I highly recommend it! 5 stars
6/02/06 Danny Very suspensful - I liked it a lot. 4 stars
5/31/06 Bryan McAllister one of the best movies ive seen in a long time 5 stars
4/05/06 Alison Not necessarily a scary's more like a thriller. I loved it. 5 stars
3/16/06 chris f very entertaining film 5 stars
3/11/06 Dillon Rachel McAdams is great, but the movie usually didnt work 3 stars
2/17/06 Indrid Cold Solid but uninspired. I think Craven's only good movie ever (Scream) was sort of a fluke. 3 stars
2/07/06 Anthony This movie was 1hr and 10 min and was boring 3 stars
2/05/06 Shawn Gadberry Sorry...Put me to sleep. Was this supposed to be a TV movie? Seemed like it was... 2 stars
2/02/06 Gary Mitchell Not bad....very entertaining! 4 stars
1/29/06 Zaharin Bin Abdul Razak Pretty much the same as "Nick of Time". So what's the point? 2 stars
1/20/06 Mike Pulido Predictable.over too quickly seemed like something was missing 3 stars
1/15/06 Quigley One can basically sum of this movie's awesomeness in two words: Cillian Murphy. 5 stars
1/15/06 Jeremy Fassler (the artist formerly known as JFas) This film was extremely overrated. Never had any suspense for me. 1 stars
1/13/06 Perry Mason idiotic, dull, witless thriller 1 stars
11/09/05 Priscilla Posthlethwaite Uncommonly original, tense thriller. More evidence of Rachel McAdams as a serious talent. 5 stars
10/26/05 Katie Evridge Red Eye is definatly a great thriller. 4 stars
10/18/05 Agent Sands Cillian Murphy steals---and saves---this otherwise dull thriller. 4 stars
10/08/05 Frenzy Ending was to HAPPY 3 stars
10/05/05 Naewar Loved it! Can't wait to see it again! 5 stars
9/25/05 Josh Standlee This movie kicks more ass than anyone could possibly imagine! Brilliant!!!! 5 stars
9/07/05 bentable just a great movie 5 stars
9/05/05 marge a real a hitchcock 4 stars
9/04/05 Quigley Cillian Murphy ruled so much! McAdams wasn't bad either. This movie is full of awesomeness. 5 stars
8/26/05 S Davis Wes Craven is back from that "Curses" mess. Outstanding performances...great plot. GREAT! 5 stars
8/25/05 ES A suspenseful, fun ride, McAdams gives her best performance, ending completely satisfies 4 stars
8/24/05 Brandy Harrington Check it out, this is better than Scream and Elm Street. 5 stars
8/22/05 Seymore great 5 stars
8/20/05 Hockeytown A heroine in heels wielding a field hockey stick? I miss the NHL SOOOO bad! 3 stars
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  19-Aug-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 10-Jan-2006



Directed by
  Wes Craven

Written by
  Carl Ellsworth

  Rachel McAdams
  Cillian Murphy
  Brian Cox
  Jayma Mays
  Jack Scalia
  Colby Donaldson

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