Neigh­bours from hell

‘Rear Win­dow’ is given a teen-slanted re-do in this divert­ing thriller, writes Michael Dwyer

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews -

DIS­TUR­BIA Di­rected by DJ Caruso. Star­ring Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Sarah Roe­mer, Car­rie-Anne Moss, Aaron Yoo 15A cert, gen re­lease, 104 min THERE is no ac­knowl­edg­ment in the cred­its of Dis­tur­bia for Al­fred Hitch­cock’s 1954 thriller Rear Win­dow, nor for the Cornell Wool­rich short story on which it was based, even though there are sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the plots of the two movies. In each, the hero is house­bound, pass­ing the time by voyeuris­ti­cally view­ing the neigh­bours through binoc­u­lars un­til he sus­pects one of them of mur­der.

In Rear Win­dow, the mid­dleaged pho­tog­ra­pher played by James Ste­wart was con­fined to a wheel­chair. In Dis­tur­bia, Kale, the 17-year-old played by Shia LaBeouf, is elec­tron­i­cally tagged and placed un­der house ar­rest for the sum­mer af­ter punch­ing his Span­ish teacher in the face.

Of course, Kale has ev­ery new-fan­gled en­ter­tain­ment – Xbox, iTunes, widescreen cable TV – but as the screen­writ­ers need to get him look­ing out his win­dow, they con­trive for his mother (Car­rie-Anne Moss) to de­prive him of th­ese dis­trac­tions.

As a bonus for Kale, he gets a hor­monal rush from ogling Ash­ley (Sarah Roe­mer), the lithe stu­dent who lives next door. Ash­ley ful­fils the func­tion of the Grace Kelly char­ac­ter in Rear Win­dow, be­ing smart and en­thu­si­as­ti­cally shar­ing in Kale’s sus­pi­cions that a lo­cal man (David Morse) is a se­rial killer.

Di­rec­tor DJ Caruso, whose for­get­table out­put in­cludes Two for the Money and Tak­ing Lives, is cer­tainly not the in­her­i­tor of Hitch­cock’s man­tle, al­though he han­dles the sus­pense se­quences ef­fi­ciently in this divert­ing yarn. Dis­tur­bia will most likely be re­mem­bered as a step­ping stone to suc­cess for the con­fi­dent young LaBeouf, al­ready dubbed the new Tom Hanks/John Cu­sack and now co-star­ring in Steven Spiel­berg’s fourth In­di­ana Jones ad­ven­ture.

Sus­pi­cious minds: Shia LaBeouf and Sarah Roe­mer in Dis­tur­bia

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