Review: “Eye of the Beholder”

Some films are great, some films stink, and then on occasion you get what’s been recently nicknamed “Reversed Sixth Sense Syndrome” (aka. ‘The Mushroom Effect’). “The Sixth Sense” was a quite dull film until the last 20 minutes when things suddenly changed and the stellar ending helped pull up the rest of the film.

Movies suffering from RSSS on the other hand are great films which break apart and destroy what’s come before it in their final 20 minutes. “Hollow Man” is a good recent example of this, and now you can add ‘Eye’ to that list. As we begin everything seems good – there’s an interesting setup, the performances are spot on, the characters all unique and fascinating, and lots of awesome visuals which really make you wonder how’d they shoot that.

That feeling continues for the opening 80 minutes or so which, while slow at times, is nevertheless a very engaging movie. There’s some subplot about McGregor’s daughter who appears near him with almost ghost like fashion, a subplot which disappears about 20 minutes in thankfully as its quite weak.

McGregor himself is quite good as the loner spy who becomes obsessed though its the female performances which rule this film. I’m not just talking about Judd who plays a serial murderess with both cold menace and convincing warmth, but also K.D. Lang whose truly fantastic as the receptionist/operative McGregor receives his orders from. Jason Priestly and Genevieve Bujold make unexpected appearances, both only with a few minutes of screentime but make the most out of what they have.

Then we come to the ending and this is where the film just falls apart. The scenes in the Alaskan cafe are good but after that one gets the feeling that a full 30-40 minute ending was shot and then whittled down to 10 minutes leaving a hell of a lot of unanswered questions and confusion. The film just builds and builds – yet no climax, which not only is confusing but makes one feel they’ve been cheated.

Director Stephan Elliott apparently was quite unhappy with the way the film was taken out of his hands and reworked and had to reassemble the pieces – he’s done a good job of that but whoever was responsible for cutting it to pieces in the first place destroyed what could’ve been a highlight of the year. Instead we have a disappointing flick.