Shia LaBeouf has been in many movies, but my earliest memory of seeing him act is in the 2007 DJ Caruso movie Disturbia. I remember watching it on CD, and experiencing a rush of thrill mixed with fear. Since then, LaBeouf has been in news much more for his controversial antics than his work. Although he has starred in better movies than this one (Fury, Nymphomaniac Vol I, American Honey, Honey Boy and The Peanut Butter Falcon), but Disturbia truly showcased his talent and potential.
The film had a good cast, LaBeouf and David Morse who really suited their parts to the T. What also worked in favour of the movie was the way it was shot. It works both as a 2007 film and as a present-day commentary on voyeurism, stalking and basically recording every tiny thing one does out of boredom. The storyline revolves around one high-schooler Kale (Shia), who has been punished with house arrest after assaulting his teacher. With nothing to do and a lot of time to kill, Kale begins to randomly spy on his neighbours, one of whom is a pretty girl, and the other is an ageing man with a mysterious aura about him. Now one fine day, once he has befriended his crush and is sitting idly in his room with his best friend, the trio decide to do more of that stalking. Later, Kale realises he might have seen something dangerous. So, should he follow his instincts? Or is his lonely self getting the better of him?
Executive producer and renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg apparently shortlisted LaBeouf himself for the role. And as it so happened, the actor did make the final cut. Morse, who played the mysterious neighbour, apparently did not speak to any of the cast during the shoot of the movie as he did not want to be influenced by his interactions with the younger cast. The IMDb trivia page quotes Shia as saying, “When we finished filming, he was very friendly. But he’s a method actor, and as long as we were shooting, he wouldn’t say a word to us.” (SPOILER) The result: we get a deadly villain with an ominous, terrifyingly quiet aura about him. Meanwhile, Carrie-Anne Moss, unlike her Matrix movies, did not have much to do here as she was painted as a young, slightly exhausted and concerned motherly figure to Shia’s character.
Hollywood Rewind: Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse | Free Willy | Carrie | Crash | Persepolis | The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants | Philadelphia | Mrs Doubtfire | Easy A | Romeo + Juliet | Coraline | Gone Girl | Starship Troopers | Bridget Jones’s Diary | Almost Famous | Inglourious Basterds | Beginners | Girl With a Pearl Earring | Juno | Nightcrawler | Little Miss Sunshine | Moana | The Sound of Music | Benny and Joon | Crimson Peak | The Holiday | My Blueberry Nights | The Help | Mission Impossible | Chef | Revolutionary Road | I’m Not There | Donnie Brasco | Sicario | Edge of Tomorrow | Spy Kids | 1998’s Godzilla | The Others | Phone Booth | Wild | Scream | The Godfather Part II | One Fine Day | True Romance | Little Women | Face-off | Pulp Fiction | Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon | The Age of Innocence | Mean Girls | Die Hard | Never Been Kissed | Citizen Kane | Kill Bill Volume I | Terminator 2 Judgment Day | Titanic | Heat | Home Alone | Jerry Maguire | Brief Encounter | The Truman Show | The Deer Hunter | The Shining | Clueless | Ferris Bueller’s Day Off | Blue Velvet | Taxi Driver | The Lord of the Rings I | Zero Dark Thirty | The Godfather | Say Anything | Warm Bodies | Bright Star | Malcolm X | Stardust | Red Eye | Notting Hill | Fargo | The Virgin Suicides | The Breakfast Club | Enchanted | Walk the Line | Blood Diamond | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Mortal Kombat | Bridges of Madison County | Edward Scissorhands | Breakfast at Tiffany’s | She’s Gotta Have It | Ever After | The Devil Wears Prada | The Matrix | Creed | Mulan | Ratatouille | Shutter Island | Her | Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | Tangled | Meet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
There is also a very Hitchcock-esque feel to the movie, with its use of the voyeur angle and a constant sense of underlying creepiness that something evil is lurking just behind the proverbial curtain. And it makes sense to have that vibe from Disturbia since it was apparently modelled after Rear Window. Upon its release, the movie was hailed for its lead performance and made a good profit at the box office.
You can rent Disturbia on Google Play.