Red Eye is entirely about unlikely heroes and villians. Frilled and furbelowed feminity locks horns with machiavellian masculinity, and scores a sweeping win with all its glory intact.
Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is in the hospitality industry, a hotel manager in the business of being pleasant and keeping people around her happy 24x7. Dainty in her pink blouse and school-girl black skirt, she is pitted against the unyieldingly cruel, criminal Jackson Rippner. Rippner has kidnapped her aboard a plane and is threatening to kill her father unless she shifts a client of hers to a different room in a hotel, so they can carry out their plot to assasinate him.
Red Eye, on the whole, gives the impression of systematically filling up all the gaps in the fine honeycomb that was Flightplan
. It cements up the entire kidnapping-on-the-plane movie sequence to give you a solid, impenetratable thriller. What's more, it has the fast, galloping pace of a horse, with all the jerks and the fractional moments of suspension, followed by sudden thudding landings. Unlike Flightplan, too, it has a simple plot, and never for once wavers or adds deviations after the initial outpouring that makes it all clear.
Lisa boards her flight to Miami to return to work at the Lux Atlantic after a holiday. She is with a wonderfully helpful and friendly stranger Jackson, and except for sudden moments when he lets a creepy remark slip, he melts onto her like a cheesy dip. Once they are up in the air, though, he reveals to her utter horror that her dad is kidnapped and she has to help with the assasination of one William Reefe.
Lisa's attempts to break free of the trap on board the flight are repetitive and predictable, yet this is where the screenplay brings sensory shocks to what is almost a humdrum plot. Even if you don't have to be clairvoyant to know where and when the end is coming, the tension sometimes gets taut enough to be a physical sensation. Like a child being carried by the parent, you want to propel yourself forward faster somehow, while the pace moves on at the same optimum level.
The delicious side-context to the whole movie are the hotel and the manager Cynthia (Jayma Mays) who is filling in for Lisa. Innocent and doe-eyed, Cynthia is constantly cowed down and harried by the demands of the guests on her new job. She turns to Lisa to guide her on the phone as much as she can. Together the girls stick together pulling each other through. It's not far removed from a team of pompom girls, and when Jackson Rippner makes his remark about using male-based fact-driven logic over female-based emotion-driven dilemma, the audience suddenly has something to cheer for.
It's girls versus MCPs, and Lisa performs impeccably well. From using her Hockey team skills, to other stealthy self-defence tactics, she hits back with a clinical force and efficiency that can only be feminine. In the end, after she has cleared off a handful of villians, she daintily goes back to put her arm around Cynthia and act more pompom girlie than ever.
Ah well! Seldom do such completely feel-good movies come by, that also double up as hardcore thrillers. At just 105 minutes it is completely packed and melds hand-picked ingredients from a handful of movies. An undercurrent of gender-wars from Legally Blonde, and in-flight drama from Flightplan to begin with. Where it ends is as an electric, snazzy thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat all the way. Definitely watch it the minute you have a movie on your mind. You'll be well-rewarded.