Disturbia (2007)

Disturbia (2007)

Movie Detail

Movie: Disturbia (2007)
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Carrie-Anne Moss
Languages: English, Spanish
Release date: 13 April 2007 (USA)
Director: D. J. Caruso
Box office: 11.81 crores USD
Adapted from: Rear Window
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures
Music by: Geoff Zanelli
Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes


Disturbia (2007)


Peeking at neighbors is the perfect material for a film because the creator can go in virtually any direction, with only a starting point – the hero observing the surroundings. Therefore, we will find quite a lot of pictures whose axis is “spying with binoculars”. The variety of genres of such productions means that everyone will find something for themselves: a thriller (Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock), a comedy with elements of black humor (Joe Dante’s In the Suburbs), or a romantic comedy (The Girl Next Door by Luke Greenfield – although here there is a voyeuristic element). occurs only for a moment. The above-mentioned titles include DJ Caruso’s film Niepokój (Disturbia), the classification of which, however, poses some difficulties. But more on that later in this review.

The hero of the film Disturbia – Kale (Shia LaBeouf) is sentenced to three months of house arrest for beating up a teacher. A special sensor on the leg is intended to ensure that the young man does not violate the court order. To make matters worse, the boy’s mother, in order to force him to find something constructive to do, cuts off his access to iTunes and limits his other entertainment. So Kale begins to observe his neighbors and life in general on his seemingly quiet street.

A couple with their attractive daughter Ashley (Sarah Roemer) move into the house next door. The girl regularly sunbathes and swims in the backyard pool, much to Kale’s delight. The young man’s attention is also attracted by his neighbor – Mr. Turner (David Morse), who gives the impression of an outsider. The boy suspects that Turner has something on his conscience. So he decides, to the best of his abilities, to observe the activities of the mysterious street resident a little more closely.

Anxiety is very clearly divided into two main parts. The first one, which contains a lot of comedic motifs, presents Kale’s attempts to court Ashley. In the second part, the picture turns into a quite well-made thriller, in which Kale tries to catch his neighbor in the act. Such an unusual mix of genres is always a big challenge for the creator. Fortunately, Caruso was up to the challenge, proving to the doubters that he was capable of producing an efficient spectacle (and looking at the director’s previous achievements, one could have justified doubts about this fact).

The screenwriters ( Christopher B. Landon, Carl Ellsworth) should also be praised – they were able to squeeze quite a lot out of well-worn themes and even breathe some freshness into them. Rumor has it that the original script was written in the 1990s and was shelved because of strong similarities with the remake of Rear Window starring Christopher Reeves (made for television) that was in production at the time.

A separate paragraph is due to contractors. The first violin is played by Shia LaBeouf and he basically has to carry the entire show on his shoulders. After the screening, however, it can be safely said that despite his young age, LaBeouf feels great in front of the camera. There is no artificiality in the character he plays and the viewer easily “makes friends” with Kale. This bodes well for the future career of the young (21-year-old) actor. Sarah Roemer, who had little experience, also did very well.

Although her role was limited to being an ornament, it is impossible to deny Ashley’s charm, beauty and vitality. The hero created by David Morse – the mysterious Mr. Turner – is interesting. Morse only needs one and the same grimace to show extremely different personalities – from a kind and caring person to a sociopath murderer. Apart from the main character, Turner is the most interesting character in the picture. The man values ​​peace and tries not to be noticed. He gives the impression of an ordinary, gray resident of the suburbs. However, it is impossible to resist the impression that there is some dark secret behind his composure and gentle glances. It is also worth paying attention to Carrie Anne-Moss playing Kale’s mother.

Many people see Anxiety as a new version of Hitchcock’s Rear Window mentioned at the beginning . Indeed, at first glance, Caruso’s film may evoke similar associations. However, we will find enough new elements in it to conclude that both pictures have only an idea in common (and the consequences resulting from it). The screenwriter, Christopher Landon (as he admitted in an interview) was inspired by a visit to a family living in the suburbs. While walking down the street and observing the surroundings, he came up with the idea that a similar place would be perfect for the plot of a thriller – because you never know what secrets are hidden by the seemingly happy and nice people living in houses surrounded by carefully trimmed lawns.

In this respect, the title has a lot in common with In the Suburbs . However, while the viewer knows at all times that the events shown on the screen should be treated with a pinch of salt, in the case of the film Anxiety(especially in the second half) it is difficult to dismiss the feeling of anxiety arising somewhere on the border of consciousness. In Joe Dante’s comedy, the behavior and appearance of suspicious neighbors are deliberately exaggerated, while Mr. Turner is a perfect example of an inconspicuous man who says “good morning” without even looking at him or paying him any attention. Kale begins to observe his neighbor out of boredom, and doubts slowly arise in his mind.

The problem is that the rest of the world functions according to the old rules – only the boy’s situation changes and throws him off the rhythm of his daily routine. The remaining residents of the district, busy with their affairs, do not look for anything new in their surroundings. That’s why no one believes Kale. Even his friends who observe his surroundings are skeptical about the young man’s ideas (at least to a certain point). So can we be tempted to treat the film as such? Anxiety as a kind of warning or an attempt to force the viewer to think about his everyday, “ritual” activities? Or maybe extraordinary things are happening in the reality around us, but we just don’t notice them, focused on experiencing another “groundhog day”? It is possible that this is too far-reaching a conclusion, but it is difficult to argue with the seed of uncertainty sown in the viewer’s mind by Caruso’s film…

this doesn’t mean that others won’t have fun while watching it. The director included several “winks” to the attentive viewer (e.g. the screen saver on Kale’s computer or the title of the book Ashley was reading on the roof). By using similar tricks, the creator expresses respect for the viewer. Unfortunately, Caruso allowed a few mistakes and annoying elements to creep into his work that don’t fit with the rest. First of all, the behavior of certain characters raises considerable controversy. I’m mainly referring to the policeman supervising Kale.

Another significant problem was how to obtain plans for the neighbor’s house. I don’t think it’s possible to just find accurate (and constantly updated) architect’s sketches of any building. Another low point in the script is Kale’s sudden ability to build a pocket-sized “spying device.” There is a scene in the film Anxiety in which a boy, with the assembly instructions in front of him, assembles something from a camera and a few other electronic elements, but it is not very convincing.

However, this can be attributed to the necessary film simplifications, as there are more similar ideas in the film. Some consider the slow pace of the action to be a disadvantage – the main plot picks up pace only after more than half an hour – as well as the formulaic nature of the script. This does not mean that the viewer will be bored at the beginning of the screening, but if someone expects to be thrown into the whirlwind of events in the first few minutes, the production will not live up to expectations.

To sum up, despite a few flaws, Anxiety is a very decently made youth thriller with strong comedic and even moral accents. Solid acting, an interesting (though formulaic) plot, a well-built atmosphere of tension and anxiety, and good cinematography enriched with an appropriately selected soundtrack guarantee that you, the reader, will not leave the cinema disappointed. Of course, you shouldn’t expect a masterpiece, but every now and then it’s good to see a movie just for entertainment. And Caruso’s painting fulfills this role perfectly.

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