F.I.L.M. of the Week (May 27, 2011)

27 05 2011

With Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” earning its place in the box office record books (but still nowhere to be found in Houston theaters), I figured the right way to kick off the return of the “F.I.L.M.” (First-Class, Independent Little-Known Movie) of the Week was to shine a light on one of star Rachel McAdam’s finest flicks, “Red Eye.”  The phrase “killer thriller” gets thrown around a lot in regards to chilling cinema due to alliteration, yet few actually merit the descriptor.  This one does.

Say what you will about “Scream 4” being a critical flop and a box office disaster, but you can’t deny that director Wes Craven can send chills up your spine.  “Red Eye” is more in the vein of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” than it is in horror-comedy of “Scream,” and even on DVD and the second watch, it’s still as frightening as ever.  Running at only 85 minutes, the compact volume of terror keeps the tension so taut it could be cut with a knife at any moment.

McAdams stars as Lisa Reisert, a hotel manager taking the red eye home to Miami from her grandmother’s funeral.  Little does she know, however, that she is in the thick of a terrorist plot spearheaded by the devilishly charming man in the seat next to her, Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy).  His plan of terror is not to hijack the plane but rather hijack Lisa’s sanity, exploiting her position, threatening her, and playing intense psychological games with her.

Murphy, channeling his eerie performance from “Batman Begins,” is an absolutely terrifying villain.  He keeps most of Jack’s ferocity bubbling under the surface, just waiting to explode, and it keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat awaiting the moment when he finally snaps.  Thanks to Murphy, “Red Eye” keeps the blood pumping and the heart pounding all the way to the movie’s climactic moments.

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