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Movie Review: Disturbia

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Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window is a classic thriller that was way ahead of its time with its subject matter. So director D.J. Caruso’s (Taking Lives, Two For The Money) re-tooling of the timeless film makes perfect sense with people’s obsession with voyeurism and paranoia in today’s world.

In Rear Window James Stewart starred as L.B Jeffries, a photographer who finds himself stuck at home in a wheelchair with nothing to do but spy on the neighbours. That basic premise is used here too; only this time it is Kale (played by Shia LaBeouf) who is left completely bored out of his mind after being put under house arrest for punching out his Spanish teacher. Kale loses his Xbox, TV, and Internet privileges as well but soon discovers there is other entertainment right outside his window, as he spies on his neighbours including the new girl (Sarah Roemer) next door. However Kale soon becomes convinced one of his neighbours (David Morse) is a serial killer.

LaBeouf continues his climb up the Hollywood A-list with yet another standout turn. As Kale he conjures up a very likable host for the audience; much like Stewart in Rear Window he has a lot of screen time on his own and makes the most of it.

David Morse is in fine form too, coming across as menacing yet charming as well; you never really know what to think of his character. Sarah Roemer, in only her third feature, comes across as sexy, playful, and confident, making a perfect ‘girl next door’ companion for Kale.

The ideas put forward in Disturbia are more relevant today than ever and it is that notion along with the sound performances that make Disturbia an enjoyable thriller (rare by today’s standards). For example, who can honestly say they haven’t on occasion peeped out their windows to see what other people are up to? Also with today’s high level of technology including the Internet, web cams, and home video cameras, the sense of voyeurism and paranoia is at an all time high; are you watching someone or is someone watching you?

The film near perfectly executes its plotting and pacing. The first half of the picture for the most part is actually a lot of fun as it purposely builds up the characters and story; it then nicely steps into fifth gear for the thrilling and shocking finale.

D.J. Caruso delivers his best picture to date with some assured direction. He may have got it wrong in this genre with Taking Lives in 2004 but three years on he nails it with Disturbia. The film's excellent box-office take is certainly no fluke.

There are a number of reasons to see Disturbia, but above all else it should be seen because it is one of those rare gems found in this usually inadequate genre.

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