Making the Grades
In the post 9-11 era, airplane thrillers are increasingly dicey ones to sell. Distrustful flyers don't want to have their fears about their fellow passengers confirmed. Yet Director Wes Craven chooses to play on those doubts by confining his characters to the belly of a jet at 30,000 feet above ground, in his newest suspense film, Red Eye.
Following her grandma's funeral, Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams), a manager in a high-end hotel, is booked on the overnight flight home to Miami. She is admittedly nervous about flying, although when her dad (Brian Cox) calls, she reassures him she'll be fine.
While waiting in the airport boarding line, she meets Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy) who offers to buy her a drink in the terminal lobby when their flight is delayed. His friendly style at the bar helps relieve some of her initial worries about the impending departure. Once on the plane, the two of them end up in adjoining seats and he mercifully tries to distract her during a bumpy takeoff.
However, soon after they leave the ground, his friendly demeanor changes. Tossing her father's stolen wallet onto her laptop table, he reveals his real intentions and threatens to kill her dad if she doesn't cooperate. Afraid to jeopardize her father or the others on the flight, Lisa realizes she has limited time to prevent Jackson from carrying out his deadly plan before they touch down in the Florida resort.
Adults and older teens (who aren't already anxious about flying) may feel just a tinge of unease as the plot line unfolds in this tightly edited film. Getting right into the storyline, the movie's tension builds as Lisa attempts to send an undetected message for help. Unfortunately, the amount of profanities and violence escalates almost as rapidly.
Motivated by a desire to take action against a terrorist-type villain, Lisa's reactions might be considered reasonable for her abilities, but they still result in bodily injury and eventually the death of a character in a pool of blood. Jackson also resorts to physical attacks on Lisa during his icy intimidation. Other violent events in the film include the point blank shooting of a man and an exploding surface-to-air missile.
Lisa's refusal to play into the sacrificial intentions of Jackson and his cohorts will likely keep older audiences engaged for the full 86 minutes. But with passenger suspicions already running at a high alert, you'll have to catch this one in theaters because you can bet Red Eye won't be showing up on any in-flight screens anytime soon.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Red Eye.
Why is Keefe (Jack Scalia) willing to change rooms when he discovers Lisa had authorized the change? What has she done in the past to earn his trust and respect? How do a person’s actions affect their reputation in business and daily life?
How can a director increase the tension by restricting his characters to a small, geographical area? What other films have you seen that employ this same device?
Home Video Viewing Alternatives
Here are some ideas for home video titles that are related to Red Eye.
Suspense runs rampant in The Bourne Supremacy when a former black-ops agent tries to uncover his forgotten past while dodging bullets and assassination attempts. Best known for his horror films like Cursed and Scream 3, Wes Craven also directed Meryl Streep in the movie Music of the Heart, the story of a single mom who teaches violin lessons in a Harlem school.