PG-13 for sequences of terror and violence, and some sensuality.
April 13, 2007
Shia LaBeouf, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse, Sarah Roemer, Aaron Yoo
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By Elliott Ryan
- Alfred Hitchcock is generally considered one of the best (if not the best) directors of psychological thrillers in U.S. film history. Since his era, many movies of the suspense genre have been influenced by his style. The new film Disturbia is one such film. But instead of just being influenced by Hitchcock, this movie borrows liberally from his movie Rear Window.
Actor Shia LeBeouf stars as a troubled youth named Kale who is scarred from a family tragedy. As he attempts to cope with his difficult circumstances, he also develops a bit of a temper which gets him into trouble with the law. He is placed under house arrest for a few months. He is forced to wear an ankle bracelet so the police can make sure he doesn't travel any farther than his own yard. His mother (played by Carrie Anne Moss of Matrix fame) tries to be supportive of her son but has reached the end of her patience in dealing with his outbursts.
Not having anything else to do for a few months, Kale begins to spy on the neighbors. He spends his free time watching those around him with binoculars. From his window, Kale spends a lot of time checking out the new girl who moved in next door. Kale eventually meets the girl next door and a romantic side story ensues. Outside of the movies, spying on a neighbor with binoculars seems much more creepy than romantic. But it works for Kale here.
But he doesn’t limit his spying just to the new girl next door. He spies on everyone in his neighborhood. One neighbor, in particular, appears to be up to no good. Kale, his new girlfriend next door, and Kale's best friend from school all spend the rest of the movie trying to figure out what this neighbor's suspicious behavior is all about. The three friends embark on a stakeout from Kale’s bedroom window on this neighbor who may, or may not be a murderer.
If you watched Hitchcock’s Rear Window from 1954, the plot sounds familiar. In that film, a man (James Stewart) is wheelchair bound and can’t leave his upstairs apartment due to his injury. He begins spying on his neighbors. He becomes suspicious of a particular neighbor’s activity. A good friend and a love interest both assist him in getting to the bottom of the story. Hitchcock’s version of the story is a better film than Disturbia. However, it is also a bit slower and features middle-aged characters rather than teenagers.
Disturbia’s greatest success may be found in the fact that the familiar plotline is modernized and sped up for a new generation. If many teenagers and young adults were to watch Rear Window and Disturbia, I think a large percentage would favor the newer, fresher film, even if film critics disagree.
Having said all of that, this movie is pretty enjoyable. The story moves along at a fast pace once the set up is finished. The twists and turns of the plot had the audience screaming at points. If you enjoy suspense films, this might be a good one to check out.
Or you could save a few dollars and rent Rear Window.
The film is rated PG 13 for sequences of terror and violence and for some sensuality. So, this is not a family movie. But it isn’t any more objectionable than much of what get aired in prime time television these days either.
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