‘Rear Window’-inspired film runs on own legs

Jenna Gerling

Kale (SHIA LaBEOUF) and Ronnie (AARON YOO) caught in a moment of neighborly spying. PHOTO COURTESY OF DREAMWORKS ENTERTAINMENT

Credit: Jason Hall

Every killer lives next door to someone, or at least that’s what Kale (Shia LeBeouf) thinks.

The opening of the film starts out like any other happy, motivational movie would start – father and son fly fishing in a scenic river, chatting over glass-bottled Cokes about life. But the feel-good moment abruptly ends when Kale and his father get into a car accident, which ultimately ends up killing his dad.

One year later, and feeling a bit responsible, Kale, who was once an outgoing kid, becomes withdrawn and turns into a slacker in school. An unsympathetic teacher brings up his dad, which Kale doesn’t respond well to. Facing possible jail time, his mother intervenes and he is only sentenced to three months of house arrest.


Starring Shia LaBeouf, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss and David Morse

Directed by D.J. Caruso

Distributed by Dreamworks Pictures

Rated: PG-13 for violence and sensuality

Stater rating (out of five): ?????

Only a few days go by, and Kale is already feeling stir-crazy. He starts to get sick of his junk food, cable TV, video games and Internet. With some help from his friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) and some second-hand surveillance equipment, Kale begins to spy on his neighbors. But predominantly, Kale becomes infatuated with his new next door neighbor, Ashley (Sarah Roemer).

She catches on to his spy game, and interestingly enough, wants to help. One night, they think they witness suspicious activity from neighbor Mr. Turner’s (“House”‘s David Morse) house. Or is it just a hallucination?

LeBouf leaves behind his dorky, annoying little brother image of Louis Stevens from Disney’s “Even Stevens,” which is apparent during his sexually-intense make out scenes with Roemer. As an actor, he has matured so much from his past movie ventures like Holes and even his more recent movies such as I, Robot and Constantine.

One surprise appearance in the movie is actress Carrie-Anne Moss. In Disturbia, Moss plays a much smaller role than her character Trinity in The Matrix, which was a nice surprise. As Kale’s mother, she is a single parent who is trying to keep things together in the family and ends up getting into a bit of trouble in the end.

Interestingly, Disturbia‘s plot has many attributes that resemble Hitchcock’s 1954 psychological thriller, Rear Window.

Similar to Kale, Rear Window‘s James Stewart plays L.B. Jefferies who is bound to a wheelchair due to a broken leg. Housebound and paranoid, he begins to spy on his neighbors with a zoom-laden camera from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed a murder.

Many things tie the two movies together: Both Kale and Jefferies’ legs have something that burdens them (Kale is assigned an ankle bracelet while housebound), and each have a girlfriend who is willing to spy on and break into houses.

Disturbia keeps the audience in its seat the whole time, and it’s really up to them to decide if Kale is only facing psychological damage from his father’s death and his cabin fever, or if he really witnesses something disturbing in the suburbs.

Contact ALL correspondent Jenna Gerling at [email protected].