Hollywood Rewind | Disturbia: A thrilling film led by a Shia LaBeouf in great shape

Shia LaBeouf has acted in many films, but my earliest memory of seeing him act is in DJ Caruso’s 2007 film Disturbia. I remember watching it on CD and feeling a rush of shivers mixed of fear. Since, LaBeouf has made a lot more headlines for his controversial antics than his job. Although he has acted in better films than this (Fury, Nymphomaniac Vol I, American Honey, Honey Boy and The Peanut Butter Falcon), Disturbia has really shown his talent and potential.

The movie had a good cast, LaBeouf and David Morse who really suited their roles to the T. What also worked in the movie’s favor was the way it was shot. It works both as a 2007 film and as a current commentary on voyeurism, harassment, and recording every little thing one does out of boredom. The story revolves around a high school student Kale (Shia), who was punished with house arrest after assaulting his teacher. With nothing to do and plenty of time to kill, Kale begins to randomly spy on her neighbors, one of whom is a pretty girl and the other is an aging man with a mysterious aura around him. Now one fine day, once he’s befriended his crush and is sitting idly in his bedroom with his best friend, the trio decides to do more stalking. Later, Kale realizes that he may have seen something dangerous. So, should he follow his instincts? Or is his lonely self getting the better of him?

Executive producer and acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg apparently selected LaBeouf himself for the role. And in this case, the actor did the final editing. Morse, who played the mysterious neighbor, apparently didn’t speak to any of the actors while filming the film because he didn’t want to be swayed by his interactions with the younger actors. The IMDb trivia page quotes Shia saying, “When we finished filming, he was very friendly. But he’s a methodical actor, and as long as we were filming, he didn’t say a word to us. (SPOILER) The result: we get a deadly villain with a menacing and terrifying aura around him. Meanwhile, Carrie-Anne Moss, unlike her Matrix movies, didn’t have much to do here as she was painted as a young, slightly exhausted mother figure preoccupied with the character of Shia.

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There’s a very Hitchcockian feel to the film too, with its use of the voyeur angle and a constant creepy underlying feeling that something evil lurks just behind the proverbial curtain. And it makes sense to have that Disturbia vibe since it’s apparently been modeled on the rear window. Upon its release, the film was praised for its leading performance and made a good profit at the box office.

You can rent Disturbia on Google Play.

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