Lisa’s bad day is about to get much worse. Already shaken by the recent death of her grandmother, Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is trying to return home to her job at a swanky Miami hotel from her grandmother’s funeral in Dallas. Naturally, the flight is delayed because of inclement weather, and Lisa is stuck in Dallas while her fill-in at the hotel struggles to meet the standards of the demanding guests and the impending arrival of Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Charles Keefe. However, things suddenly take a turn for the better (or so it seems) when she meets charming Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy). The two share a drink in the airport terminal and, perhaps too coincidentally, end up seated next to each other on the plane. And as the cabin doors close, Lisa soon realizes Jackson is not the innocent businessman she thought he was.
Jackson mentions that his job is all about Lisa tonight, and he needs a little “favor.” The bottom line, however, is that Jackson is heading an elaborate assassination attempt of Charles Keefe and his family. Lisa now must make a costly choice. Either make a call to the hotel, and put Keefe in harm’s way, or risk the death of her father (Brian Cox). After several failed attempts to inform the other passengers of her seatmate’s murderous affiliations, Lisa makes the call. But once the plane touches ground, she injures and flees Jackson. What follows is a desperate attempt on Lisa’s part to thwart the assassination attempt and save her father from the hit-man waiting outside his door.
Though not overly violent, Red Eye does have its share of violent moments. A character is stabbed in the throat with a pen and later jerks it out. A man gets a shoe heel lodged in his leg and is pushed down a flight of stairs. A character is run down by an SUV. Lisa and Jackson get into several scuffles on the airplane. One character is shot fatally in the chest. Explicit language is non-existent until the latter stages of the movie, with about half a dozen profanities uttered in all.
Red Eye was obviously a low-budget movie and the plot is altogether uncomplicated, however it is teeming with witty dialogue and anxious moments. Newcomer Cillian Murphy’s excellent portrayal of Jackson tends to overshadow the other characters, but Rachel McAdams is very effective. The plot takes a while to take off as the viewers learn Jackson’s plot and Lisa’s involvement in it, but once it does, it is a thrill ride to the very end.
Rather than focusing on high-octane special effects, director Wes Craven does an excellent job of putting together a movie that relies on its tension-filled moments and character performances. What results is a very good, high altitude thriller that is definitely worth the admission price.
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