Reviewed by: Chris Sosa
How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer
|Featuring:||Shia LaBeouf, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse, Sarah Roemer|
|Director:||D.J. Caruso—“I Am Number Four” (2011), “Eagle Eye” (2008)|
|Producer:||Joe Medjuck, E. Bennett Walsh, Jackie Marcus|
“Every killer lives next door to someone.”
“Disturbia” is a new spin on Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film “Rear Window.” As an aspiring film director, it pains me to say that I have never actually viewed Rear Window in its entirety and will therefore not be comparing the two. In this adaptation, a young man named Kale (Shia LaBeouf) is sentenced to three months of house arrest as punishment for physically assaulting his Spanish teacher who publicly humiliated him, even going as far as bringing up Kale’s recently deceased dad. In the time following his arrest, Kale begins to watch his many neighbors as a pastime to combat his constant boredom. After all, his mom has become a bit strict, cutting off his iTunes account, his TV, and his Xbox live connection. (This movie shamelessly plugs products through-out, and that fact will endlessly annoy film purists.)
When watching one particular neighbor, Kale begins to notice that his daily routine seems to be a bit erratic, as his neighbor sneaks in late at night and oftentimes mysteriously disappears in the day. When similarities begin to surface between the neighbor and the attributes of the killer on the nightly news, Kale knows that he has to prove his neighbor’s guilt or risk other innocent lives being taken.
In terms of content, it is important to note that this film was originally rated R “for violence and terror” and was successfully appealed and re-rated by the MPA appeals board. So bearing that in mind, this movie is violent. And while the violence is contained only in certain scenes, the impact is a bit heavier than the rating indicates. Scenes of near slasher-movie violence are present, including stabbing, neck snapping, decomposing bodies, and other various violent acts. Also a fist-fight is present, and violence toward animals includes Kale fishing with his father and the apparent demise of the mysterious neighbor’s foliage destroying rabbit.
Sexual content is a bit surprising, as the rating only mentions “sensuality.” One will be surprised to see multiple shots of a porn film, showing a topless woman. While certain very minute details are not present in the shot due to circumstances that I will not repeat here for fear of offending readers, the over-all impact of the scenes is enough that it will only make a difference in the eyes of the ratings board. In addition to those scenes, there is a scene in which Kale is shown in the bathroom scratching his leg because of the chaffing from the police device, but is insinuated to be doing something else before the audience sees the entire shot. Also present are numerous scenes of barely clad female bodies, as Kale voyeuristically gazes at the neighbors with his binoculars.
Language, while not mentioned in the rating, is somewhat frequent. Paling in comparison to many current films, “Disturbia” does still contain numerous uses of mild and moderate language, and heavy language is insinuated on multiple occasions. While heavy language was possibly uttered on one or more occasions, it was a bit difficult to tell considering that in most scenes the speaker was cut-off before finishing the word.
From a Christian point of view, this film offered some moments of positive moral content. Kale’s willingness to risk his life for others was very admirable, as “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (TNIV). Themes of friendship and courage are present pervasively throughout the movie. However, the final act takes a disappointing turn, which is all I will say so as not to give anything away to those planning on viewing the movie.
In closing, “Disturbia” was an enjoyable film. The pacing was relaxed, a nice change from many recent movies that feel overly rushed in an attempt to keep the audience’s attention. It’s nice to see a movie that still remembers how to tell a story. The script was also well-written for the most part, avoiding too many boring cliches. No qualms could be made with either the directing or cinematography of the film either, as both were extremely well done for a teen-oriented film. Also impressive was Shia LeBeouf’s portrayal of Kale. For those that remember him as that annoying little kid in “Even Stevens,” they’ll be shocked to his engaging part in this film. After all, in a movie such as “Disturbia”, taking place in mainly one location with few characters, the film succeeds or fails based on its leading character, and thankfully this film succeeds. In the end, “Disturbia” was a pretty good piece of escapist entertainment, nevertheless I’ll still be at home imagining my re-write of the ending.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate