In the thriller Eagle Eye, two stranger’s lives are intertwined by a mysterious, female telephone caller. Jerry Shaw (LaBeouf) returns to his apartment one day to find he has received weapons, ammonium nitrate, classified DOD documents, and forged passports. Later, Jerry receives a strange phone call that informs him that the FBI is on the way and that he needs to flee, but he refuses and is arrested. Rachel Holloman’s (Monaghan) son’s life is soon later threatened by the caller, forcing her to assist Jerry Shaw in his escape from the FBI and other mysterious deeds demanded by the caller. Unfortunately, the requests of the anonymous caller become increasingly dangerous as the FBI quickly identify Jerry and Rachel as the country’s most wanted fugitives. It becomes apparent mid-way through the movie that the female caller is using everyday technology to track and manipulate the helpless pair. Although escaping conditions are futile, Jerry and Rachel come to realize they have to work together in order to find who disrupted their lives, and prevent the diabolical objectives of the genius behind the phone calls.
First and foremost, this movie is highly unrealistic. It is clearly not possible that a computer could control cranes, power lines, and traffic lights during a high-speed chase to insure that a pair of innocent civilians could escape unharmed from dozens of police vehicles. However, Eagle Eye, does more than provide wildly improbable chase scenes in its plotting. This movie shows how technology can consume us by illustrating the helplessness of Jerry and Rachel. The two could do nothing to evade the computerized, female, phone calls because not only was the anonymous woman’s presence seen everywhere, but the lives’ of Jerry and Rachel were at stake along with the lives’ of their loved ones.
Turkle similarly displays that technology has the capacity to consume us when she says, “I worried whether losing oneself in worlds within the machine would distract us from facing problems in the real” (xi). This quote applies to the movie because both Jerry and Rachel are completely distracted from their personal lives while under the influence of the caller. The manipulative nature of technology on Jerry and Rachel is seen when the pair obeyed the phone call and evaded the police and robbed an armored truck. Although one could say they are submitting to the phone caller in order to save their loved ones, they could instead do the legal thing by turning themselves into the FBI. The message that I take away from this is that technology can consume people by making it seem that giving in to to technology is the only option.
Turkle suggests that humans and technology have a symbiotic relationship. This seems to be straightforward, but what I believe she thinks we should realize is not what technology does for us, but what it does to us. In Eagle Eye, once Jerry and Rachel began to refuse to respond to the woman, the effectiveness of the havoc was reduced. Turkle states, “Computers no longer wait for humans to project meaning onto them. Now, sociable robots meet our gaze, speak to us, and learn to recognize us. They ask us to take care of them; in response, we imagine that they might care for us in return” (2). I think that once Jerry and Rachel saw that they were being manipulated by technology, they realized they had to choose not to respond. It becomes apparent that technology was not really serving its purpose because it was the phone caller utilizing Jerry and Rachel, technology using the humans, an awkward irony. Simply not becoming a victim was the solution.
Eagle Eye is quite the far-fetched movie to say the least. However, we can see how manipulative technology can be by looking at the accounts of Jerry and Rachel. The female caller who symbolized technological corruption showed the frightening possibilities of a not so far away technologically centered world. Turkle has similar fears and foresights and realizes that humans are subjects to the power of their devices.