Monday, January 14, 2008


I tell ya, sometimes it PAYS to go into a movie with little or no expectations. I had heard from friends that this modern-day teen remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rear Window' was a good one, but needless to say, considering the source material, I didnt take those claims too seriously. After all, how could it POSSIBLY claim to be a remake when the star was a teenage hoodlum, the 'love interest' was a bikini-clad cheerleader-type, and the setting was middle-class suburbia? But I have to admit that not only is this one a worthy tribute to the original, it's a darn good movie all by its creepy li'l self.

My new FAVORITE young actor, Shia Labeouf, plays Kale Brecht, a high school kid whose father dies in a terrifying car accident at the beginning of the film. Since Kale was the driver of the vehicle, it is understandable that his hitherto sunny disposition and happy-go-lucky attitude are replaced by bitterness and guilt. The story picks up a year later where, after lashing out violently at an unsympathetic teacher, Kale finds himself under house arrest and bringing alot of stress to the already strained relationship he has with his hard-working mother. Boredom eventually reduces the boy to staring out the window at his neighbors, a past time he shares w/ a sexy new neighbor and a visiting friend. Of course, we know the story from there: The kids begin to suspect a neighbor of foul play and grisly discoveries ensue, coupled w/ a good ammount of taut suspense.

Make no mistake, the BEST thing about this movie is its lead. Labeouf is such a natural actor (as many of you 'Transformers' or 'I, Robot' fans know) and that gift is especially evident in the early moments of the film, as he becomes more and more stir crazy in his captivity. Though the character set up lasts an atypical ammount of time for a film of this genre, the key performance is engaging enough to maintain our interest. Kale's romance w/ his neighbor seems a little too rushed for my taste but the chemistry between Labeouf and Roemer works sufficiently and doesnt bog the story down too much. David Morse is cold and charming, almost a send up to the character he played recently on House. His chilling politeness was nerve-wracking to say the least. Moss, Yoo, and Roemer are all serviceable in their parts as well, if not standout.

Like I said, the movie is above average so the direction is good. The story moves along quickly without seeming to leave major holes in the plot or character developement. A few of the latter scenes are extremely well done and I found myself truly terrified, staring through my fingers even. Some of the more grisly moments were a little over-the-top but not glaringly so...the PG13 rating is an accurate one, I believe.

I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys a good suspense thriller..that is, if you can keep an open mind and prevent yourself from comparing it to the original masterpiece. It won't change your life or anything, but it's a good bit of entertainment nevertheless.

My rating: 7/10


Blogger JaneSays said...

I have to admit, when I read the back of the box at the video store, I returned it to the shelf, several times. After all the PG-13 and better choices had been exhausted, I gave in to Ernie and we rented it. It was only slightly better than I thought it would be... A little too predictable, in my humble opinion. But I always do love your movie reviews!

3:46 PM  
Blogger jewlover2 said...

Yeah, well I knew it would be predictable seeing as it was a remake and all...still made me jump a few times.


3:55 PM  
Blogger turborip said...

This turned out to be a nice surprise for us too, more than likely because LeBeuf is quite likable. I think Hitch would be proud of this re-imagining of Rear Window.

4:57 PM  

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