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I only came across the film through some box office top 10 list where – sometime before the Summer blockbusters, no doubt – it actually hit number 1 for some weeks. The reason must be the main actor, Shia the Beouf – and he is actually some amazing screen presence. Cool, relaxed, not pretending big drama where there is none, but relaxedly playing with the camera, and you can really imagine that it does not really make a difference to him whether the cameras are rolling or not. Especially the opening sequence, which has some father-son romanticism to it, benefits from this, as there is no way he could fall for the awkwardness of father-son talk. You must have writers to accommodate this, but apprently here was one at work, and the minutes before the turning point into not so pleasant territory by way of a stunning sequence would deserve a better film to follow. What actually does follow is am often-repeated scheme about the murderer or not murderer neighbour, this time flavoured with hot-bodied teenagers and some efforts into modern technology (James Stewart’s broken leg being replaced by an ankle-beeper for house arrest victims actually adds some nice possibilities). All professionally done, only that I do not want to believe that the nice warden “Brutal” from “Green Mile” is actually a killer, because he treated the mouse Mr Jingles so nicely back then. But at some point the mystery is revealed and the boy gets the girl (Sarah Roemer, never heard nor seen) for sexual encounters, which is the whole point of the film (apart from watching Aaron Yoo make funny faces, which sometimes is quite entertaining). Could have done with a bit more disturbance – family friendly thrillers are just not very thrilling, after all. Nice entertainment when you can’t sleep from jetlag and need the opposite of an intelligent drama to pop into the notebook’s DVD drive.
An amazing 68% fresh rate from RT:

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