dir: D.J. Caruso
[img_assist|nid=766|title=Who's this Hitchcock guy?|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=375]
Rear Window was crap anyway, right?
I mean, Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly: What are these names compared to DJ Caruso, Shia LaBeouf and David Morse? Nothing, I tells ya, nothing and nobodies.
So if someone tells you there’s a remake of Rear Window, what, are you going to check your eyesight or your glasses prescription before looking into the gift horse’s mouth?
No, you’re not. You’re going to watch it, marvel at the charming Shia LaBeouf, his retarded Asian sidekick and the nubile jailbait from next door, and forget all about that bloody Rear Window movie.
Well, actually, you’re not. If you’ve seen Rear Window, you’re going to sit there whilst watching Disturbia, and you’re going to be shaking your head from side to side, marvelling at what passes for a ‘remake’ these days.
Rear Window gets practically everything right as a thriller and as a compelling film. Disturbia muddles through as a deliberately pale imitation in comparison.
Our hero here is placed under house arrest due to a violent temper arising from unresolved feelings over the death of his father. That’s what keeps him ensconced in his home, and what leads to his voyeurism, which leads to his wondering if he’s witnessed a murder. Unlike Stewart’s character, who was wheelchair bound due to a broken leg, our hero here can’t leave the house because the cops will grab him.
Because an ankle transmitter firmly outlines the limits of his world whilst he is serving his sentence, he must find other ways to amuse himself when his mother cancels his various cable entertainment services. Naturally, spying on his neighbours through binoculars is the only way to kill time and ease the pain of his isolated existence.
He spies on the recently moved in hottie next door, improbably named Ashley (Sarah Roemer), and eventually strikes up an ‘innocent’ friendship with her, despite the fact that he’s ogling her form at every opportunity. In between the ogling, and the implied compulsive masturbation, he may or may not have seen a woman in distress over at a different neighbour’s house.
Some of the details he sees match the details that come up in news reports about a missing woman and some serial killer, and thus our hero Kale (LeBeouf) has to solve the mystery despite the fact that no-one around him believes his cries of wolf, wolf!
To further the plot, there are a few times where really stupid and nonsensical actions have to be taken in order to get things to the next stage. Whenever I see these moments, it always reminds me of Eli Roth’s first craptacular movie Cabin Fever. So I don’t take up too much of your time eviscerating a different flick from the one that is supposed to be torn and mutilated in the present review, I won’t delve too deeply into the memory banks of past horrid experiences.
Suffice to say, in Cabin Fever, there’s a moment where the filmmaker has to contrive a reason as to how to isolate a group of people at the aforesaid cabin, despite the fact that they have a working car. To achieve this end, he has two of the protagonists smash the car with branches and then shoot it with a rifle due to some insane circumstance. When someone else asks them why they rendered the car undrivable, they say something along the lines of, “Well, we had to.”
Of course you had to, because the writer couldn’t think of any other reason why you’d be stranded without doing something so incredibly stupid. Thus, for me, these moments are called Cabin Fever moments: moments in cinematic time due to laziness, stupidity, a lack of imagination, or a combination of all three.
When Disturbia needs the alleged killer to know that amateur sleuth Kale is on his trail, Kale has to inform potential murderer by having the flash go off on his video camera, which he’s holding up at window height and crouching down at the same time trying to film the guy, for no earthly reason that you, I, or the filmmaker can think of.
Huh? Wha? The hell you say.
There are three other similarly lazy moments in the flick that don’t destroy it entirely, but they do remind you that you’re watching a reasonably trashy piece of disposability incarnate. It’s a dumb flick aimed at a teenage audience it sees as either too stupid to pick up on the script’s laziness, or too blasé to really care.
Which doesn’t really matter. Shia LeBeouf, who seems to be in every second movie that comes out these days, is fine and entertaining no matter how much of a sweaty dorky teenager he still seems like, despite being in his twenties. He is perfectly serviceable in the role, but no-ones ever going to confuse him with Jimmy Stewart.
And no-one’s going to confuse Disturbia with Rear Window. Disturbia finds an absurd path about a third of the way through, and sticks with it. The ending is satisfying in the sense that it ends, and you know there’s no reason to ever think about how silly the whole thing was ever again.
The flick never examines anything to do with the voyeuristic impulse Kale is a party to. It doesn’t look at the current obsession or ubiquity of surveillance and cameras, or the impulse to film ourselves doing every pointless thing we do (unless you’re a celebrity), and what it says about contemporary culture. It never gets any deeper than the “dude, like, what’s so totally happening over there?” level of depth, and it has nothing to say about anything. Which is fine; you don’t need your heroes to be philosophers or your villains to be Raskolnikov every time for flicks like this to work.
Ah, David Morse. If he has any other acting modes, I haven’t seen them in any of the many flicks I’ve ever seen him. The Ramones had greater variability and range than this guy does. He shares the same affliction as that other great bloodnut actor David Caruso, in that they both overact in everything they do, they both cannot vary even by a millimetre from what they’ve done before, and they can both be entertaining in a scenery munching kind of way.
I recommend it in the same way I’d recommend cheap malt liquor, cask wine or burger-tastic fast food. You know it’s crap going in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it if you’re already drunk.
6 times the underground passages in the villain’s house were bigger than the villain’s house, convincing me that the villain was really a Time Lord with a Tardis at his disposal out of 10
“It reeks in here!
- What's it smell like?
The corpse of a rotting hottie” – like, totally dude, Disturbia.