Quint sees his first SXSW movie, DJ Caruso's DISTURBIA starring Shia LaBeouf!!!
Published at: March 10, 2007, 3:21 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a brief review of DISTURBIA, my first film at SXSW '07.
I'm going to be brief, but I'm also going to split my review into two parts. Part one is completely safe, touching on very little of the plot, and part two will be a little more in-depth and spoilery.
I picked DISTURBIA as my first movie of the fest (costing me THE LOOKOUT, the big opening night film... but one that I hear was only okay) because of DJ Caruso's SALTON SEA and Shia LaBeouf in the lead. Caruso's SALTON SEA was a great film, one that I still think holds up. Outside of his first project, the Frank Darabont scripted throwback to Roger Corman crazy road chase movies BLACK CAT RUN, SALTON SEA is the best stuff he's done and I think LaBeouf is a fascinating actor, on the cusp of reaching super stardom.
Plus it was an AICN screening, so how could I not be there?
I knew nothing about the movie besides the director and the star. I didn't know the synopsis, the supporting cast, the genre. I knew there was some sort of car stunt somewhere in the film because of the interview I did with LaBeouf during my visit to the set of TRANSFORMERS, but I had no idea the context of the stunt...
And oh man, what a great stunt it is... but no more on that until Part Two.
This is by far Caruso's best film since SALTON SEA. It has everything. Romance, crime, suspense, gags, beautiful girls in bathing suits, blood, tears... everything.
The acting across the board is great. Part Two will have more on that, but for the super spoiler-free Part One I'll just say that if you want to experience this movie the best possible way then on April 13th just go to whatever theater is close to you and playing the flick, avoid the trailers, avoid reviews, avoid everything and just sit back and watch.
I don't want to build it up as something with, like, an amazing twist or something. It's nothing like that. It's a small film with some good surprises and I know from my experience with it that I liked it more the way I saw it than I would have if I had known certain aspects of the film.
If that's not enough for you, then proceed to Part Two. I won't go spoiler crazy, but I will talk a little bit about the film's structure, plot and characters. If you just want to know what I thought and don't want specifics just know that I genuinely dug the hell out of it. I think this is the kind of film we could use more of. Smart, exciting, funny, thrilling and just flat out entertaining.
PS - During the Q&A LaBeouf was asked about INDIANA JONES 4 and he said it's just a rumor right now (does that mean it can change... hrmmm), but would he like to do it? "Fuck yeah!"
Now for a little more depth in Part Two...
I won't draw this out. I'm hoping to still be able to catch 6 hours of sleep tonight and to do that I need to wrap this up, code it and post it in about half an hour.
What we have here is a great melding of genres. I love it when a movie pulls that off, be it AUDITION or FROM DUSK TILL DAWN or something like BRICK, which melded noir with the high school film, complete with jocks, nerds and everybody in between.
We have what is a coming of age/girl next door romance story with a twist. Our lead boy is under house arrest, so he can't court the girl next door. At the Q&A, Caruso said he very much wanted this to be like SAY ANYTHING, with LaBeouf as his John Cusack. That's very apt. It's kind of sweet, a little frustrating, but funny and romantic.
But there's a thriller aspect to the movie that creeps in, a REAR WINDOW angle. The TV's reporting a serial killer on the loose and LaBeouf, during his neighborhood spying while bored under house arrest, comes to suspect another neighbor, played by David Morse, is this man.
The performances by LaBeouf and Morse in particular make this movie for me. I love how Morse can be the ultimate creepy guy in one second and then kind of charming in the next, keeping you unsure if LaBeouf is really onto the killer or if it's a misunderstanding. And the fact that some of it plays like a romantic comedy, you're not sure you know exactly which formula, if any, they're following.
Also in the cast are Carrie-Anne Moss as LaBeouf's mother, troubled by her son's run-ins with the law. She doesn't have much screen time, but as always she's great to watch. Sarah Roemer plays the girl next door and boy... does she look good in a bikini. It's easy to see how LaBeouf's character becomes infatuated with her. She's absolutely beautiful. And, of course, Morse is awesome.
I very much recommend this flick. I had a blast with it. It won't change your life, but it's smart, filled with great performances and it's entertaining as all hell.
I have 6 films on the schedule tomorrow... hopefully I'll catch them all... and hopefully they'll be better than the midnight flick I saw tonight... I won't mention it by name since it's an indie, but boy howdy... seat-squirming bad. Be back soon!