September 25, 2007


“The world is in a heightened state of paranoia” Robert Turner tells Ashley, after he’s just invited himself into her car. The premise of Disturbia is actually very interesting, and very now.  Teenager Kale (Shia LaBeouf) is electronically tagged after punching his Spanish teacher, meaning he can only go within a certain area around his house and garden or the police will be alerted.  So for the three summer months, he has little to do, especially when his mom Julie (Carrie-Anne Moss) takes away his Xbox, iTunes and television. 

So he takes to spying on his neighbours to counteract his chronic boredom, including Mr Turner (David Morse) and Ashley (Sarah Roemer), whose family has just moved in next door, and who gets undressed with the blinds open and goes swimming in an exotic assortment of bikinis.  She seems oblivious to Kale and his friend Ronnie’s (Aaron Yoo) preoccupations, but one day decides to join them.  Instead of finding their actions weird or slightly perverted, she asks where the coffee and donuts are. OK, so you may have to suspend your disbelief.  But soon they hear on the news about a missing woman, various clues point them towards the introverted Mr Turner. 

Is Kale suffering from paranoia, perhaps sensationalising because of the sheer lack of anything else in his life?  Or is he on to something? Mr Turner’s comment to Ashley is possibly the most political line in the film.  That and the modern obsession with constant surveillance are what keep the film going.  Does it invade privacy, or is it essential to make the world a safer place?  This film doesn’t care much about that, but it’s a fresh, very watchable movie.  Morse has always been very good at playing creepy, softly spoken characters and LaBeouf has shown that, as in Transformers, he is one of the most naturally funny, charismatic young actors around.  Director D.J. Caruso doesn’t make the most of the tension, but as a Hollywood-ised Rear Window for this generation, it isn’t half bad at all. 


3.5/5 Secret affairs discovered


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