1 out of 10
When a scriptwriter names a main character Jack Rippner, you know you are in for trouble, but at least one thing is certain after sitting through it's tedious and largely amorphous 85 minutes "Red Eye" itself is an apt title - whether it's from having to keep your eyes open through to the end credits or from the tears you will be shedding when you realize how much you spent to see it, it is a dismal failure. It will also likely have you seeing red when you realize what a shameful misuse of talent it is, particularly the skills of British screen veteran Brian Cox ("Rob Roy") and Irish newcomer Cillian Murphy (the Scarecrow from "Batman The Beginning" and the hero Jim from "28 Days Later").
While waiting for red-eye flight to Miami, hotel manager Lisa Riesert (Canadian actress Rachel McAdams) meets up with a stranger (Murphy). When the two turn out to have seats next to each other, a conversation sparks up, but as the flight goes on Riesert finds out their seating arrangement may not be coincidental...
Written by Carl Ellsworth (some time writer for television, including episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and directed by Wes Craven (better known for the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series), "Red Eye" was written to be an Alfred Hitchcock-type psychological thriller. Instead it has a plot and cinematography by Robert Yeoman ("The Royal Tenenbaums") that is hardly worthy of Beverly Hills 90210. With only a portion of the film set on an airplane and with a lack of story, tension and character development, it is far from being similar in any way to Hitchcock masterpieces "Strangers on a Train" or "Dial M for Murder." It is much more like a limp version of "Air Force One" or "Flightplan," where the idea is interesting but never really reaches fruition. Most tacky of all, the main focus changes, disappointingly from the relationship between Rippner and Reisert, to Reisert attempting to save the life of Charles Keefe (Jack Scalia), the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.
Barely frightening or thrilling, although Murphy is, as always, excellent and convincing as the villian, the storyline doesn't manage to create much intrigue or interest and the characters are too thinly developed and unsympathic to relate to, particularly McAdams, who has too little to work with to give Reisert any depth. Often seeming more like it was filmed on a $200 budget, the final scenes with a field hockey stick and a rocket launcher are both unfitting ways to resolve the story and, as bad as some of the "Nightmare on Elm Street" films were, the project is still surprisingly awful even for Wes Craven.
Overall, a feeble and disappointing attempt at a thriller - with no real scenes of interest, besides a rather shocking moment with a pen, both Craven and Ellsworth should be grounded for releasing this in the theatres. When Rippner says in the picture "Sometimes bad things happen to good people" - I agree that watching this movie had to be one of them.
As Much Fun As Pink Eye
Film Critic: Jennifer M Lillies