Well, I guess my mother was right; Big Brother is watching us all the time. In a world where every teenager has the latest and greatest phone, every car has the latest touch screen GPS, every adult has a Blutooth ear piece, and even Grandma is listening to Elvis on her new iPod nano. In this new film from producer Steven Spielberg, Shia LaBeouf plays Jerry Shaw, a guy who is barely making rent when he finds weapons in his apartment that have obviously been planted there. When he is taken in for questioning, a mysterious female voice calls and orders him to duck. Somewhere across town, Michelle Monaghan plays a single mother who is called by the same, unemotional voice that ordered Jerry. Her son is on the way to D.C., and this lady, who is apparently Big Sister, threatens to hurt Rachel’s son if she doesn’t do what Big Sister tells her to do. Hat is interesting about this film is that it kind of uses the viewer in a way that could be interpreted as mean after all that 9/11 stuff. Post 9/11 films can be a touchy subject these days, with such films demonstrating this rule as Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, Paul Greengrass’s United 93, and even the mildly controversial poster for J.J. Abrams’s apocalyptic monster movie Cloverfield.
The voice on the phone is so very reminiscent of that robot in 2001: A Space Odyssey HAL 9000. The film is aimed mostly at teens looking for those action moments of crazy car crashes they saw in the trailers. The plot is preposterous, as many reviews have already said. The notion that the government is totally believable in some sense, but that the government is willing to frame and manipulate you is absolutely unbelievable. Monaghan and LaBeouf give acceptable performances, while Billy Bob Thornton plays an irritable FBI agent looking into the case of Jerry’s murdered brother. Mr. Thornton is steadily looking more and more like our current president, M. George W. Bush, which, for this film, is a little eerie. Rosario Dawson (Death Proof, Rent) who was so enjoyable in the movies italicized next to her name, plays an agent from Air Force Office of Special Investigations. This seems to be a strange miscast. It’s not that she’s not good in the role, it’s just seems that she isn’t really right for the role, playing someone who plays by the rules, which is a character trait that was definitely not featured in Abernathy, who plays Ship’s Mast with Zoe Bell, or Mimi, a drug addict/stripper. Now I’m not saying she isn’t versatile, I’m just saying that it would have been better if someone else played this role.
The action is so high-octane, it may give you a head-ache after awhile.