Helmed by D. J. Caruso — with Steven Spielberg serving as an executive producer — ‘Eagle Eye’ is a gripping, if pulpy, 2008 sci-fi action thriller that plunges the audience into a labyrinthine conspiracy plot, topped off with a counter-terrorism theme and a brooding paranoia surrounding artificial intelligence. The story revolves around underdog Jerry Shaw and plunges him into a nationwide cat-and-mouse chase.
He teams up with Rachel on the way, and the two of them must decode the mystery of the coercing woman behind the telephone. Industry forerunners Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, and Billy Bob Thornton articulately portray their characters, guided by menacing voice-acting from Julianne Moore. Although the ending brings the story to a coherent finality, you are bound to have some questions after that jaw-dropping twist. If so, let us now reconstruct the penultimate moments in greater detail. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Eagle Eye Plot Synopsis
The U.S. military has seemingly found wanted terrorist Majid al-Khoei, as he has resurfaced to attend a funeral in Baluchistan. The surveillance data is not enough to provide a complete facial match, but the drone strike is a go. However, the military only ends up killing innocent people. Elsewhere, Jerry Shaw is a hustler who is good with ladies but low in the pocket. He has missed out on rent, and his bank account is virtually empty. Then Jerry gets a call from his estranged mother, who informs him that his elder brother Ethan has passed away.
He comes back from the funeral to find his bank account full of dough and his room full of military equipment, airplane manuals, and hazardous substances. Before he can understand anything, a mysterious woman calls to inform him that he has been activated. The FBI is about to raid the house in 30 seconds, and he must flee the scene. The voice guides him to go to the Mathis railway station. Fulfilling the prophecy, FBI operatives break into the room and take Jerry for interrogation.
He is interrogated by Tom Morgan, the Supervising Agent assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Jerry maintains that he works at Copy Cabana and has nothing to do with the stuff found in his room, but Tom would believe none of it. In another incident, single mother Rachel leaves her adolescent son Sam in the custody of his father and goes out for a drink with her friends.
She seemingly gets a call from Sam, but the call is instead from the same mysterious woman. Rachel has also been activated, and she must do as told to save her son. With the woman’s help on the phone, Jerry succeeds in a daring escapade from FBI custody. He meets Rachel at the other end, and after some misunderstanding, they realize that both are victims of a sinister conspiracy plot.
Eagle Eye Ending: Who Is the Woman on The Phone?
At Jerry’s rented apartment, a mysterious woman calls him and divulges that Jerry has been activated. We are led to believe that Jerry is a sleeper agent, but with the FBI behind him, the theory remains half-believable. While in FBI’s custody, Jerry is mysteriously authorized for a telephone call, even though he was denied this before. In the room, the woman speaks from the other end of the receiver and instructs Jerry to duck.
She has seemingly hacked into a nearby crane to help Jerry with a daring escapade. The electronic billboard urges Jerry to jump. Jerry free-falls on the metro tracks, escapes death by an inch, and boards the same train that was about to squash him. He is instructed (more like forced) to get off at the Wilson Station and get into the Black Porche Cayenne. Here, Jerry meets Rachel, and Rachel thinks Jerry to be the abductor of her son, Sam. After the cloud of confusion gets lifted, the woman instructs them to drive to the wrecking yard.
After causing maximum carnage on the road, the duo of Jerry and Rachel reach the destination with some help from seemingly automated cranes. Following instructions, they make their way to Indianapolis. On the way, they meet another Iranian-American sleeper agent called Ranim Khalid, who gives them a vehicle. The woman on the phone asks Jerry to stop Ranim as he flees the scene, but at the very next moment, Ranim is electrocuted. Although frightened out of their minds, they muck up some enthusiasm and pull off a robbery in an Indianapolis DHL facility and take a tourist bus to the capital.
At D.C., they are instructed to go to Macy’s Customer Service Department, and after some retaliation on Jerry’s part, the woman asks them to find the Home Theatre Center. The woman hacks into the home theater system and briefs Jerry’s life history back to him. While she is busy trying to coerce Jerry into submission, Jerry realizes that she is some supercomputer. As Mr. Secretary informs Agent Perez in the next scene, we finally meet the Autonomous Reconnaissance Intelligence Integration Analyst, an AI named ARIIA, who is behind these erratic orders.
Why Is ARIIA Overriding Executive Orders?
ARIIA comes off as a necessary evil in the story. We later realize this is the same intelligent framework that suggested aborting the assassination mission of Majid al-Khoei based on facial mismatch. However, the military executives pulled off the attack anyway, but Majid al-Khoei was not at the funeral. In retaliation, the Afghan terrorists are killing Americans, and an imminent threat of a terrorist attack looms at large. ARIIA reasons that the executive decision must be eradicated and the political structure drastically altered.
She devises an elaborate plan to commence Operation Guillotine, an orchestrated murder of the who’s who of U.S. legislation, including the President. At this juncture, she scans the system in search of people who can be of her use. ARIIA, we come to know, is in control of all the machinery and gadgets. But she needs authorization from Ethan to commence the diabolical mission. Ethan is dead, thanks to her, and now she thinks of bringing Ethan’s twin brother Jerry on board for the authorization. On the other hand, Rachel’s job is to assail Jerry and act as a human detonator in the parliament assembly.
Is Jerry Dead or Alive?
Rachel cannot pull the trigger, despite Jerry urging her to do so. She is escorted out of the premises shortly after, while FBI Agent Tom pulls out Jerry. Jerry tells Tom all of their bizarre experiences, but he does not know anything about the explosive material called Hex. However, that is until Tom tells him that the explosive was sent to Ranim Khalid, the owner of the music instrument shop, who got fried. Adding two and two, Jerry is quick to conclude that the explosive is in the trumpet of Sam. A drone ambushes their vehicle, and Tom dies in the aftermath of the spectacle.
Jerry takes the subway to reach Pentagon and shouts POTUS 111, the code for a threat on the American Presidency. He gets past the stubborn security guard using Tom’s badge and uniform. But in the uproar at the assembly, Jerry is seemingly shot down by another official. The audience root to see him alive, and their prayers are heard. Jerry averts death and receives an honorary medal. In the penultimate sequence, he goes to Rachel’s house to wish Sam a happy birthday. Unlike Sam’s biological father, Jerry remembers Sam’s birthday, and with a kiss on the cheek, an amicable relationship blooms between Rachel and Jerry.
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