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Review (6.5/10)
(By Erin Cullin)

Statistically speaking, the future success rate for child actors is not likely to leave them with feelings of sunny optimistism about their long-term job security. Whether it is the diminishing selection of roles which are made available to children once they are no longer adorable youngsters (such as it was for Macauley Culkin and Haley Joel Osmet) or the growing temptation of life in the fast lane (such as it was for River Phoenix and Drew Barrymore), a successful career as a child actor is often an impediment to a future acting career as an adult.

With that in mind, Shia LaBeouf, one-time star of Disney television and film projects (including "Even Stevens" and "Holes"), should have accepted the coveted academic spot offered to him by Yale University, rather than chasing rainbows in Hollywood. But, as anyone who follows entertainment news will tell you, Shia LaBeouf is no ordinary child star. He is one of the few exceptions to the rule, a child actor who appears to be on his way to a very successful adult acting career. He is the star of the number one film at the box office, is starring in "Transformers", one of this summer's sci-fi blockbusters and has just been cast in the widely anticipated Indiana Jones IV. He has won an Emmy award and was the 2007 winner of ShoWest's Male Star of Tomorrow award. This is Shia Labeouf's moment, and he is using it to ensure that he has a long career as an actor in Hollywood.

Disturbia, the latest film by D.J. Caruso ("Taking Lives", "The Salton Sea"), is the first of three films starring LaBeouf that will be released to theatres this year. If this film is any indication, Shia LaBeouf is about to have a very good year.

Disturbia tells the story of Kale Brecht (LaBeouf), a young man whose perfect life is sent into a tailspin after he is involved in a horrific car accident that takes the life of his father. As the driver of the vehicle, Kale is consumed by feelings of guilt and grief and, as a result, everything in his life is suffering. He is failing academically, his relationship with his mother is deteriorating and he is running afoul of the law. His latest encounter with the police, occasioned by his decision to punch his Spanish teacher in the face, has landed him three months house arrest and an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.

After the thrill of building Twinkie towers, playing video games and watching television begins to wear thin, Kale discovers a world of live entertainment right outside his window - unfaithful husbands, mischievous kids and cute blonds provide no end of distraction for him. But when his curiosity leads him to suspect that his neighbour is harboring a dark secret, Kale becomes involved in a cat and mouse game with a man who may - or may not - be a ruthless killer.

While Disturbia features some decent supporting performances by David Morse, Sarah Roemer and Aaron Yoo, this film really belongs to Shia LaBeouf. He is the star of this film, and his performance, as well as the film's box office success, put to rest any doubt about his ability to carry a film. He delivers a strong, credible lead performance and, in doing so, graduates from his status as a child actor to a bona fide adult actor.

Other than LaBeouf's performance, there is nothing particularly groundbreaking or outstanding about Disturbia. A lot of comparisons have been made between this film and Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. Other than the obvious similarities between the plots, Rear Window is, without a doubt, the superior of the two films. Disturbia does a decent job of developing its plot and building suspense but, at the end of the day, it is a film geared to the 16 to 25 crowd. It is more "Scream" than "Jagged Edge".

One note about the rating of this film. Disturbia is rated as a PG film. While it does not have any explicit nudity or violence, it is frightening and graphic enough that I would have thought that it warranted a 14A rating.

Disturbia is a decent thriller that could be easily enjoyed either at the theatre or at home on DVD. It is a film geared to a younger crowd (for those of you looking for a more mature thriller, I would recommend Fracture, which I will be reviewing next week). If nothing else, it is an excellent starring vehicle for Shia LaBeouf, a young actor who, if I can make an early prediction, is well on his way to being the next Leonardo DiCaprio or Tobey Maguire.


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