Eye of the Beholder

Hot on the heels of the biggest movies of their lives, Ashley Judd and Ewan McGregor now release Eye of the Beholder; a noirish thriller based on the 1980 book by Marc Behm. In the wake of Double Jeopardy and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Eye of the Beholder is a step back for the two actors. The movie is a noirish thriller with an intriguing concept, but it takes a couple steps too far. The Eye (McGregor, Little Voice) works for a British intelligence agency as a spy. His wife left him, taking his daughter and leaving him devastated for a long time. He has not seen his daughter for years, and her loss still haunts him, enough to make him talk to visions of her. The Eye's new job is to observe the son of his boss, and this is where he comes in contact with a mysterious woman (Judd, Simon Birch).

When the woman kills his assignment, the Eye can do nothing but watch helplessly. The vision of his daughter tells him that the woman needs help, and he begins following her. The Eye becomes an obsessive voyeur, ignoring his lying about the outcome of his assignment and following her across the country, as she meets and kills other people. He begins to think of her as a daughter figure, replacing the daughter he lost. Now, he has someone to care for and look after, albeit in strange way, and his obsession begins to turn to jealousy. The Eye knows nothing about this woman, except that she is a murderer, and he still does what he can to protect her. After a point, the Eye acts on his jealousy, and this is where the movie degenerates in to a standard thriller. He does all he can to learn about her identity, and it is inevitable that the two meet. When they finally do, it is anticlimactic and boring.

The look of Stephen Elliot's (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) is wonderfully dilapidated. Judd, constantly clad in Valentino, is a stark contrast to the surroundings, which are usually run down. A scene with tattered American flags waving in the wind is particularly memorable. One of the most intriguing scenes in the trailer, when the Eye is on a motorcycle riding next to the woman in a car, with their hands outstretched towards each other, is not even in the movie. But this does not make up for the lackluster third act of the movie. Judd's character changes noticeably, from a cold, calculating woman to an indifferent nobody, for no reason at all. Instead of appearing tortured and troubled, the Eye comes off as pathetic. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder (sorry, couldn't resist), but it's not quite here.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 50 minutes, Rated R for some strong violence, sexuality, language, and brief drug content.

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