Monday, October 29, 2007

At the Movies: Disturbia

I loved Disturbia! I was a little reluctant to rent it fearing its target audience would be teens and twenties and thus “too young” for us to enjoy. Wrong! It is a teen comedy movie, but it’s also a boy meets girl movie and a buddy movie. A loose remake of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, it’s one of the most suspenseful films I’ve seen in a long time.

Shia LaBeouf plays Kale Brecht a smart young man who has withdrawn into a world of anger and grief following a tragic accident. A teacher pushes the wrong button and Kale slugs him and thus earning house imprisonment. Limited to his home and a 100-yard radius outside, boredom pushes Kale into the role of a voyeur. He fills his days spying on the neighbors, one of whom may just be a murderer.

Throw in beautiful new neighbor Ashley, best friend Ronnie (scene stealer Aaron Yoo), a domesticated Trinity as mom (the Matrix’s Carrie Ann Moss) and a brooding and menacing neighbor (David Morse) and you have the ingredients necessary to keep you laughing and biting your nails for a wonderful 104 minute thrill ride.

While Jimmy Stewart was limited to a long-range zoom camera, our young sleuths live in the 21st century and avail themselves of technology and the Internet. (There’s blatant product placement throughout the movie, but it doesn’t get in the way of the storytelling.)

Shia LaBeouf is outstanding. I had a hard time believing this was the prankster from Even Stevens. He actually made me forget I was watching an actor – I just saw Kale.

Disturbia proves that old-time thrillers can still be made, that gore isn’t necessary and the PG-13 rating isn’t at all as limiting as R-rated directors want to insist.

[For a parents’ guide to Disturbia go here.]

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