Cinema Signal:

On Writing
by Stephen King

. "Red Eye"

Will wonders never cease? The director whose most common image is that of a supernatural creature chasing a helpless girl as his next victim has actually turned his aethetic around and landed a model of plausibility (by comparison) after a trip of exceedingly well piloted suspense. My flight hat's off to Wes Craven!

The only thing on the mind of senior hotel exec Lisa Riesert (Rachel McAdams) is her flight getting off the ground and landing her home in Florida before the hotel comes apart at the seams with testy guests and computer screwups. Well, there's also dad (Mr. Riesert) (Brian Cox) whose recent divorce from Lisa's mother after 32 years of marriage, and loneliness in his new big house, leaves him with plenty of time to keep track of his daughter via her cellphone. So, with luggage in tow, you'd think she had enough on her plate, but she surely didn't reckon with the possibility of a cute terminal meet.

This turns out to be with the handsome, confident, easy-going Jackson Rippner (killer Cillian Murphy) whose invitation for a drink, after a straightening out with an irate fellow passenger, is accepted. Imagine her surprise when, after saying her goodbyes, she finds herself sitting next to the guy. What she soon finds out is that her previous concerns were nothing compared to where this is going.

Jackson, you see, is a professional killer worthy of his name. His current target is Homeland Security Director Charles Keefe (Jack Scalia) and family. They are on another airplane, heading in the same direction where they'll be starying at Lisa's hotel. Jack's game is getting his room changed from his usual to one overlooking the ocean where an outside attack with laser guided missile is possible.

What has he got up his sleeve to make her do this? He shows her dad's wallet, which one of his crew picked up conveniently for this purpose in the operation. Now, a man is waiting outside dad's house ready to slit his throat with one word from Jack. But Lisa can head that off with a little cooperation regarding the director's accomodations.

She fights, she struggles, she considers the costs, she tries everything that comes to hand, she argues, she pleads, she cries. Jack is unimpressed and, finally, she makes the call. But, is it too late?

The contest between these two comes down to matching wits and, even, physical prowess, with McAdams proving, besides top to toe beauty and fitness, all the acting dexterity needed. She's got a closeup you don't get tired of. Perfect lips; perfect lipstick. Murphy deals out a sustained version of his delicious turns of clever madness after tastes of it in "batman Begins," "Cold Mountain," and "28 Days Later." The Irish lad's gift for a unique stamp of scariness has been discovered. Watch out.

Craven, with Carl Ellsworth's story and screenplay, has done what George Romero couldn't with his "Land of the Dead," namely, successfully widen the scope of his subject matter and patented style. His savings on the blood budget alone could finance his next horror pic, if he returns to the fold. He also had the very good sense to keep this down to a tight 85 minutes which, for my money, earns him another pat on the back and a free pass on the airline of his choice.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  

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Site rating: 8

This movie is the best! I love it! Cillian Murphy is awesome and Rachel McAdams is awesome. whats not to like?

                                                           ~~ Star T. 

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