Red Eye (2005)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A thrilling flight.

I’ve been reviewing horror films almost nonstop for a while, and I think it’s about time for a quick break. I decided to sidestep to the closest relative to horror: thriller. This time I dig deep into my vault of special movies that I’ve especially considered great. Movies that some agree with me on, some people would probably kill me if they knew I liked. This time…it is Cillian Murphy and Rachel McAdams’s flight thriller, Red Eye. Lucky for me, several people actually agree with me on this one. As far as flight thrillers go, this one is high on my favorites list.

Lisa (Rachel McAdams) is the manager of a highly popular hotel…people know her. On a flight home to see her father, she meets Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy) who immediately begins to charm young Lisa before he calmly tells her he is basically the boss of assassins…after the plane already took flight of course. His mission is very simple, and he tells it with a cool, calm demeanor. A political figure is headed to her hotel soon, and all she has to do is switch the hotel room and her father won’t be killed by a hitman awaiting orders. Can Lisa live with a decision to step to the side for a high profile assassination, or is there something else she can do, while still saving her father?

I can’t remember if this or Batman Begins was the first Cillian Murphy film that I saw. Regardless, it was Red Eye that made me an instant fan of his work. I have seen several of his films, and I hold him in regards of one of the most memorable actors to date. He just plays the perfect villain…every time. He even does a great protagonist, but that’s a later review. His performance in this film was chilling to the bone, he played so well across from McAdams, who also pulled her weight for her role. Together, they provide for some of the best suspense seen on an on-flight thrill ride.

I don’t know if I can say the writing was magnificent, but it seems that way, thanks to strong performances by the leads. At any rate, this is one of the many films that have writing that seem to only fit Murphy, McAdam, Brian Cox, Jayma Mays…you name it. I love it when the casting director knows what they are doing, did their research on the film, and was able to piece it together like a giant and beautiful jigsaw puzzle.

The one thing that this film will not do is go down in history. Everyone knows A Nightmare on Elm Street, and most everyone knows it was directed by horror legend Wes Craven…his name on the director’s chair of Red Eye might very well go by unnoticed, though. As much as I think Murphy’s presentation was iconic…it wasn’t a villain you can love to hate. No one will want to see more of him. They are satisfied with this performance, and once the film ends…it’s done. I understand that. I understand that for most it is just a decent flick to check out once. It’s just disappointing that it gets lost after that.

I noticed Wes Craven’s flair in this film, and maybe that’s a reason why I like it so much. Red Eye meets its “thriller” genre requirements, and is a fun ride all-around, but just has a level of forgettability that’s hard to fully understand. The entire movie as a whole is basic, it’s fun but basic. There isn’t enough unique qualities that separate it from the rest of the films like it. I personally love it, but I can understand why others wouldn’t. One word, friends: underrated.

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