Hardly an homage to "Rear Window", "Disturbia" steals the plotline from a classic and gives it a contemporary twist with surprisingly positive results.
Swap out an injured photographer for a troubled kid with a past and a house-arrest leg-brace and you get partly the same claustrophobic and helpless feel that "Rear Window" injected into audiences. Shia LaBeouf is this kid and he gives off possibly his best performance in his entire career. He's convincing, emotional, and downright explosive.
But let me get this out of the way: "Disturbia" is no "Rear Window"... at all. "Disturbia" may have taken the similar narrative, but in no ways does "Disturbia" execute in the same fashion or quality. The writing's off, the tone is geared more towards the teenage crowd, the storytelling isn't as suspenseful, cinematography is done in mainstream Hollywood fashion, and it has a clichÃ (C)d ending that interrupts the tension it built up. Now unlike "Rear Window", "Disturbia" decides to throw all the mystery aspects of its narrative out and make the suspense and tension aspect its focal point. And in many ways, "Disturbia" delivers. Despite the fact that it was fixated to bring a tense-filled experience, "Rear Window" is just a more suspenseful film that so happened to also be an intriguing character-piece, an engaging mystery, and a thought-provoking film. Despite high regards to the classic, "Disturbia" is not a bad film on its own nor is it only fixated on suspense. There is a subplot that involves LaBeouf's character's father and the subplot is absolutely riveting for the first few minutes. But this subplot is only a device that is used to hook the audiences with the character and the film. In no ways does it characterize with the main story arc by its finale. I asked myself, "So what was the point of that part of the story?"
"Disturbia" gets a lot of things right. Unfortunately for the film, its overshadowed by a whole 'nother beast named "Rear Window". Like I said before, this is not a bad film, but it evidently shows how the quality of mainstream Hollywood filmmaking has declined from the time "Rear Window" was made. "Disturbia" is a perfect representation of what a 21st century film is like; "Rear Window" is a perfect representation of what a 20th century film is like. The result? "Disturbia" is clearly the inferior film but still worth a watch.