'Disturbia' has nice pace, crisp script PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

"Disturbia" is, unapologetically, a lower rent, modernized, teenage version of the 1954 classic "Rear Window."
Lower rent than the penthouse suite, however, can still mean a fairly posh neighborhood.
With a crisp script, nice pace and some solid performances, "Disturbia" is good enough to stand on its own despite the fervent cries of "but it's no Hitchcock!"
Shia LaBeouf, one of Hollywood's most promising young actors, stars as Kale, a troubled teen who finds himself under house arrest after a school incident.
With a tracking device on his ankle that limits him to his own yard — and after his mom (Carrie-Anne Moss of "The Matrix") unplugs his Xbox, cancels his iTunes account and turns off the TV — Kale turns to voyeurism for entertainment.
The bikini-clad girl who just moved in next door captures most of his attention, but, hey, that quiet loner next door seems a little suspicious ...
It turns out that the girl, Ashley (Sarah Roemer), doesn't mind watching either, so together with Kale's goofy sidekick Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) they stake out the neighbor with all the technology at their teenage disposal, just in case he's a serial killer.
LaBeouf may not be Jimmy Stewart, but he's affable, charming and displays some depth. One reviewer compares him to a young John Cusack, and I can see that kind of potential.
Roemer, looking a little like a young Gwyneth Paltrow, doesn't have as complex or layered a character, but she manages to hold her own.
David Morse, who began his career as a super-gentle doctor on "St. Elsewhere," has long since graduated to professional bad guy and he is in creepy top form here as the guy next door. A word here or there, a hard glare, a casual hand on the shoulder are enough to shend shivers.
"Disturbia" takes its time with an almost leisurely setup, building the suspense brick by brick while mixing in some laughs and romance.
Don't expect big surprises, but there are certainly some good jolts. And while the climax may not be completely original, it works.
"Disturbia" turns out to be a pretty worthwhile piece of real estate.
Video recommendation: Brian De Palma's voyeuristic "Body Double" is a nice, twisted companion piece. Grade: B+.



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