Red Eye (2005)
Directed by Wes Craven Screenplay by Carl Ellsworth Story by Carl Ellsworth & Dan Foos
It’s takes a master of sorts to not only continue to make horror films that are celebrated throughout the genre but to venture in the different facets, and succeed in a PG-13 matter, which is not as easy as you may think. Especially when you combine the notion of condensing that fear to 30,000 feet in the air. Cillian Murphy had wanted the role so much he flew out 2 days before his wedding to have lunch with Wes to “seal the deal.” Craven’s interest in Rachel McAdams being of how well she had been able to disappear within her roles and give great performances consistently. Which anyone whose seen The Notebook and Mean Girls can attest to. McAdams gives continued strong performances time and time again.
Lisa Reisert (McAdams) is the manager of major hotel, the Lux Atlantic. On her way back home to Miami after her grandmother’s funeral it seems that she couldn’t just catch a break. An inevitably delay due to whether and then a slight confrontation with a fellow attendant who started to take out his frustration of which she did not agree with. Receiving help from a stranger, Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy) who offers to buy her a drink while waiting, getting a polite decline in return. It is not until much later that she finds herself giving in and their fate going as far as to put them in seats next to one another once boarder. They share a slight flirtatious exchange as he presents her with the question of whether she was stalking him; a discerned look rushing over her face as she nodded no. With introductions already not needed it seemed he gets straight to the point in stating that his main business dealt with high-profile assassinations. You know, the usual; but for that moment his work was all about her and her father. Though not exactly sure if she had heard this stranger correctly, he had done his job of arousing her curiosity. His next words concerning a VIP guest and his attendance at her hotel.
Before Lisa had entered the plane it seemed an important manner needed her guidance as her worker bee Cynthia, (Jayma Mays) had been told of Charles Keefe (Jack Scalia) changing his 5 PM check in to AM. Explaining that it actually wasn’t such a peculiar thing but done for security purposes. Her only job being to ensure a bottle of Cristal and box of cigars was put out in time. Lisa had known the powerful figure for quite some time and even developed a personal relationship with him as he had put his families fate in her hands time and time again. Rippner confessed to having watched Lisa for the past 8 weeks and noticing the quiet and solitaire lifestyle she had become so accustomed to. While he does inquire as to what it had been to make her cut herself off from the world (only seeing a scar above her breast) his sole interest lay with making a call that could only be made be her. His boss had intended to send a message with the outcome of Keefe’s body and that of his family only to suffice. Measures taken as a precaution to ensure Lisa’s corporation; if choosing not go along with Jack’s plan than a single phone call would end her father’s life.
The point when Lisa is able to grab a hold of her emotions being when asking to go to the restroom; the bad weather having knocked out the phone’s on the plane, ruining their first call. Finally allowed a moment to herself to asses the situation. Pushing herself to get up and devising a quick term plan, she writes a message using soap on the mirror for anyone entering after. She should have known it was too long however; twice she was given a moment of obtaining help in some matter but her messages were too long. Get to the point and write help! Taking notice of the time passing he catches Lisa before able to get out and pushes her back in, pleading to do “Dad a favor and stop gambling with his life.” Taking a moment after reaching their seats, they wait for the stewardess to make their rounds and the call is placed. His end of the bargain having to be put on hold as first he would need confirmation after getting on the ground.
Lisa is a survivor however, something Craven is particularly good at displaying for his audiences, refusing to give up. Waiting for the moment of the fasten set-belt light to turn off, detailing the events of the day in which her attack occurred. Happening in a park with a knife held to her neck the entire time, Lisa came out of that experience with one assertion; that it would never happen again. Having swapped a pen from another passenger, Lisa jams it into Jack’s throat and takes off as quickly able to get to her father’s. She’s able to get a hold of Cynthia and explain having to do whatever in her power in getting Keefe and his family out of the room they switched them to. Of which barely gets taken care of as we find the fisherman who had been “too far out” to have pulled a launcher out of the ocean and almost complete their mission, hadn’t they been pulled out seconds prior. At her father’s it seems the Hit man who had been waiting outside had decided to go for a walk around the house. Lisa proceeding to run straight through him with the car she had stolen. But what would a survivor be without their unbeaten demeanor?
More likely than not, one can assume the outcome of this endeavor. It has a lot of the same elements that Craven is able to weave into his films to complement the main story-line. It’s rather short which had been an only complaint. But if the Director doesn’t need any extra time, then I suppose neither do I. There are only so many angles one can get with everything happening in as confined of space. Yet the thrill and terror was able to be sold with the two lead’s greatly suited roles put forth. While we don’t know much of Lisa’s past except for a slight encounter, we see her character truly become reformed from a past that had otherwise won in gaining her seclusion. By the end of the film we see her displayed in three different “images”, stripping down a bit more as her insecurities are left behind her.
What made this a strong Thriller besides that it was clearly a more “mature” film was that it didn’t have any pretentious undertones that made any of the people involved any better than the person next to them. Every character introduced had some conflict in which involved them, as little or big, that they come out better for in the end. While they both have particular roles they are most known for it’s the “side work” films in which I think they’re able to show a bit more of their depth as actors. In the scene in the bathroom when Murphy knocks McAdams against the wall, Rachel had actually experienced being knocked out for a half hour (much like in the film) and I like that Jack’s name was meant to “parody” Jack the Ripper. Certain elements of a Hitchcockian theme were present; Strangers on a Train coming mostly to mind. Though an overall underrated Thriller. It has all the elements of entertainment as long as you don’t mind the consistent happy endings of which tends to be the case in these outcomes. So what else would you expect?