Striking out on his own in the mainstream for the first time, Hollywood’s new great white hope Shia LaBeouf proves he can cut it as a fully fledged leading man in this gripping race-against-time action thriller.

Eagle Eye reunites 22-year-old LaBeouf with director D J Caruso and executive producer Stephen Spielberg who enjoyed cult success with his 2006 thriller Disturbia.

LaBeouf’s increasingly accomplished performances illustrate why industry heavyweights like Spielberg, who cast him as Harrison Ford’s sidekick in this summer’s Indiana Jones instalment, have put so much faith in the young actor.

In Eagle Eye, which echoes the tension and entrapment of Disturbia, LaBeouf plays slacker Jerry Shaw who is framed as a terrorist after the death of his soldier twin.

When an anonymous female caller helps him escape from FBI custody, fearing for his life he is soon forced to obey a series of commands.

Single mum Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) is also blackmailed into obeying the mystery woman and has to join forces with Jerry to ensure the safety of her son.

As fugitives they have to go to increasingly desperate measures to carry out their tasks and they unwittingly become accomplices in an assassination plot.

Although it could be argued Jerry Shaw is just a grown-up version of Disturbia’s Kale, LaBeouf throws himself into the role with such enthusiasm, particularly in the action squences, it is impossible not to be impressed.

If Disturbia was a remake of Rear Window then D J Caruso has made a North by Northwest for the noughties with Eagle Eye.

And this new version beautifully plays on our fears of modern technology invading our privacy. The mystery woman seems to know every detail of their lives and can track their every move.

Caruso cleverly lets us step into the shoes of our hero and heroine as he keeps us as much in the dark as them for the first chunk of the movie.

We have no idea who the mystery caller is and what she is planning but watching their cat-and-mouse flight from the FBI chief (Billy Bob Thornton) is gripping, if slightly unbelievable, stuff - complete with eye-watering stunts which actually look real rather than CGI.

Although the action is virtually non-stop, my interest did wane a little in the final third until the slightly cliched climax which, without giving too much away, combines heroics in the name of duty and a blossoming romance.

Based on this outing, the young Mr LaBeouf should be around for a long time to come.