Paranoid Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Thriller
After his father is killed in a car accident, things unravel for Kale Brecht and he is placed under house-arrest for punching his Spanish teacher. Having nothing better to do, Kale occupies himself by spying on his neighbors. But one night, he witnesses what appears to be a murder going on in Mr. Turner's house. Kale becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth behind these murders but, after a few unsettling run-ins with Mr. Turner, it becomes a matter of life and death. And the ominous question: Who is watching whom?
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What on Earth would make me want to see "Disturbia"? That is an actual question I have asked twice since expressing my interest in seeing the film. Any time a film is released with a young lead and the premise of a thriller, people automatically assume it's garbage. They never even think about giving it a chance. There are exceptions though. "Joy Ride" looked like just another cheap rip off of films like "Duel" and "Breakdown", but turned out being a damned nice thriller. I wanted to see this particular film for a number of reasons. Instead of my typical review style, I am going to list the reasons I wanted to see this film. And away we go:
A modern interpretation of "Rear Window". That's what this film is. Instead of the lead being in an accident and confined to his apartment, Shia LaBeouf stars as Kale Brecht, who is placed under three months house arrest for punching his Spanish teacher in the face. His mother (Carrie-Anne Moss) takes away his livelihood - his X-Box, his internet, even his television. She wanted to make certain he realizes it's a punishment. Kale then diverts his attention to his neighborhood, which seems like the typical suburban street. He watches as one neighbor has an affair with the maid and as the kids next door watch porn without their mother knowing. He even watches the beautiful new girl (Sarah Roemer) move in, and occasionally for for a swim, with his equally horny friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo). Soon, however, he starts to realize that something is off with one of his neighbors, a man named Turner (David Morse), whom he thinks is responsible for a number of local girls going missing. Kale, Ronnie & Ashley begin a stakeout on Turner, watching his every move, following him to the store, and even breaking into his garage. What they don't realize is that they are traveling down a path that could eventually lead them into some very dangerous places.
Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Ivan Reitman. To some people that might not mean anything, but to me it signals this is going to be just another run of the mill thriller. And, sure enough, "Disturbia" amped up the suspense and created one of the most straight-laced thrillers I have seen in a long time. The screenplay by Christopher B. Landon and Carl Ellsworth is air tight and crackling with energy - it reminded me of the early Kevin Williamson scripts, back when he was doing "Scream" and "The Faculty". The dialogue between the characters is not contrived and it flows so nicely you start to forget you're watching what is supposed to be a formulaic thriller. All of this said, Spielberg and Reitman must have know there was something special about this project, because you rarely see them attach their names to films like this. Director D.J. Caruso is picking up steam in the industry, with "The Salton Sea" turning out all right, "Taking Lives" serving as a flawed by creative thriller and "Two for the Money" entertaining the hell out of me. I think this is probably his best picture to date, and it looks like he had a blast making it work.
David Morse, David Morse, David Morse. One of the most underrated and underused character actors in Hollywood today, David Morse turns up here and there in small films, but always commands attention with whatever characters he is doing. As the sadistic neighbor in this film, he makes the character work by playing it as normal as possible. He's just the jolly old guy next door who just so happens to be doing horrific things in the crawlspace under his home. In one of his first leading roles, Shia LaBeouf is fantastic as Kale, turning this character into someone sympathetic. LaBeouf has impeccable comic timing and he has a way of delivering these lines that makes him seem like he truly means each and every one of them. He is a rising star on the scene these days and that star will probably explode when "Transformers" finally hits. The remainder of the cast serve their purposes admirably, with Aaron Yoo playing Ronnie as the comic relief, and Viola Davis showing just how bad ass she can be without many lines at all.
There are other miscellaneous reasons why I wanted to see the film, but the three you just read are probably the most accurate. "Disturbia" surprised me with how polished and slick it was. It really sold me on the suspense and the mystery, and took enough time to develop the characters, especially the lead, played by LaBeouf. I cared about the character. The film also sets up the film nicely with an opening that starts off a little melodramatic, but eventually turns into a frightening sequence that sets the tone for the rest of the film. My one complaint is that you always know when something sad or sentimental is going to happen because the music slows down and all you hear is either violins or piano. I wish they could have avoided that and then maybe "Disturbia" would have been closer to a perfect thriller. That said, "Disturbia" is certainly the best thriller I've seen in 2007 and one of the best thrillers I've seen in a long time. It reminded me of the mid-90's thrillers that were coming out with the WB-fresh actors spouting out dialogue that Harvard professors couldn't even understand. "Disturbia" has that feel, minus the terribly sophisticated dialogue. I highly recommend this film to anyone who just wants to have a good, suspenseful time at the cinemas. I couldn't believe I ended up being right about how much I enjoyed it. Eh...it happens. 9/10.
- added 05/13/2007, 06:29 PM
...I'm never listening to another review by you
again, you jerk. I'll admit, you made this film
seem extremely appealing. I loved "Rear Window"...
easily one of the greatest suspense films ever
made... so yeah... I saw "Disturbia"... it was so
predictable! You can't call it a thriller if you
know exactally what's going to happen every 30
seconds... after about 30 minutes into this piece
of hell and I couldn't help but ask the guy next
to me what time it was... and yeah... I finished
it... what happened to film? It use to be a medium
of magic more-so than mere entertainment... this
might as well be added to the list of shitty
remakes... a lack of ideas tends to force the huge
Hollywood bastards to completely destroy beautiful
films... no more remakes... change the title and
the ending and it's still a remake, only worse...
1.3/10 for the cool poster...
- added 05/25/2007, 11:57 AM
Sorry you had such a bad reaction to it. I
enjoyed it. I thought the writing was crisp for a
thriller, I thought David Morse did a great job
and I thought the whole thing delivered what it
Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg
- added 05/26/2007, 02:07 AM
I like Shia LaBeouf and he did do an alright job,
but this movie was plainly too crummy of a rehash:
I felt little to no suspense; a cliché here, a
cliché there; its overly presented teen appeal
snares made me feel ill and also heavily detracted
the film from being an okay, compact thriller.
- added 08/21/2007, 09:47 PM
I actually enjoyed this one about as much as
bluemeanie did - what the hell is the matter with
you other two? 8/10.
- added 01/03/2008, 12:19 AM
Jesus, your ellipses probably gives little kids
seizures. Anyway, I thought Disturbia was great.
The only thing that bugged me was that annoying
ass asian kid. I'm seriously impressed by Shia as
of late. With a few more flicks under his belt and
I predict him earning a spot in more than one
person's favorite actor list.
Rest Easy Soul
- added 01/24/2010, 08:10 PM
I give it a strong 9/10.
movies have been made but IMO this movie is what
bolstered Labeouf's career in the movie industry
and established him as my personal favorite up and