This, folks, is why I love going to the movies and write movie reviews.

It’s been just over two months since I saw The Dark Knight for the first time, and that was darn near the perfect film.  Since then, I have seen a great many movies, and a lot of them have been, well, bad.  A few have been fair, a couple have even been good, but none have been great.  Until now.

I measure how great a comedy is by, obviously, how much it makes me laugh.  I measure how great a drama is by the quality of the acting, the writing, and the emotional response it evokes.  And I measure how great an action/thriller is by how physically drained I am by its conclusion.  By that token, Eagle Eye may just be one of the most exciting movies I have ever seen. Maybe even more so than The Dark Knight.

Now, I’m not saying that Eagle Eye is a better overall film than The Dark Knight; it’s not.  But the most recent Batman film was great on so many levels; as a drama, as a superhero movie, as a thriller, as an actioner.  And while there were a few scenes that were pulse-poundingly exciting, I didn’t leave the theater feeling like I’d just spent two solid hours on the world’s scariest roller-coaster.  Eagle Eye made me feel that way.

Shia LaBeouf was outstanding as Jerry, an underachiever working a menial job at a copy store, who learns that his twin brother (his polar opposite, personality-wise) just died in a car accident.  After the funeral, he comes home to find his apartment full of weapons, fake passports (with his face on them) and dangerous weapons-grade chemicals.  He receives a call on his cell phone from a mysterious woman’s voice who tells him to obey her instructions or face the consequences.  Not surprisingly, he fails to comply and is arrested by the FBI, and is interrogated by Agent Morgan (beautifully played by Billy Bob Thornton), who doesn’t believe his rather absurd story that he’s being set up.

Along the way, he joins up with Rachel Holloman, a divorced mother who is also being guided by the mysterious voice.  In a rather disturbing chase scene, it seems that there is no electronic device that can’t be manipulated by her seemingly omnipresent influence, and it becomes clear that they are trapped with no way out.

The action and intensity is non-stop.  Even after you find out the circumstances behind their situation, it makes the ensuing events even more exciting.  The script was well-executed, the effects were terrific and the cinematography was top-notch.  All of the actors played their roles wonderfully, especially LaBeouf, who has got an amazing career ahead of him, at the rate he’s going.

If edge-of-your-seat action is something that you enjoy, then I cannot recommend Eagle Eye strongly enough.  You may want to bring a sports drink to replenish yourself when it’s done, because trust me, you’ll need it.

5 / 5 stars

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