Cellular, Red Eye, Disturbia

I first heard of Cellular from an Ebert recommendation, and I’m happy to confirm that it’s an excellent, fairly light-hearted thriller. Mobile phones circa 2004 are the centrepiece of the action, and while this dates the movie rather distractingly, I was able to identify with signal issues and battery life (though not crossed calls). I was also able to identify with the subtheme of the annoyances of mundane life, which was mostly played for laughs. Jason Statham makes a convincing thug, Chris Evans is surprisingly likeable, and William H Macy is as always sterling as the lame but honest cop.

I saw the trailers for Red Eye in the cinema when it first came out and immediately wrote it off for being utterly predictable and spoiled by those same previews. However the story actually departed from my expectations and I enjoyed it immensely. Wes Craven does a fantastic job sketching the personalities of the random airplane passengers and Cillian Murphy’s early conversation with the Rachel McAddams is marvelously natural. I really enjoyed the protagonist fighting back throughout the movie, though the pen thing was a bit too disgusting for me.

Disturbia is a modern version of Hitchcock’s Rear Window (and was supposedly sued by the writer’s estate); I found it a solid thriller that suffered a couple of forgiveable “idiot character” lapses (primarily the main character, his best friend, and a cop). Similarly to Cellular, modern technology came to the fore: floor plans from Realtor databases, garage door remote control schematics from the internet, mobile phones for photography as well as communication, real-time video streaming, and image manipulation. Despite all that technology, it was the characters themselves who messed up their sneaking around.

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