Plot: What’s it about?
The Eye (Ewan McGregor) is one of the finest intelligence agents in the business, but his newest assignment will draw him into things he never thought possible. His latest subject for surveillance is Joanna Eris (Ashley Judd), who some believe is behind a blackmailing scheme involving a high ranking senior government official. Seems like a routine mission at first, but he soon discovers that there is far more going on with this woman than he originally thought. The blackmailing scam soon looks like a jaywalking offense, when Joanna is seen on a killing spree, leaving a trail of blood but no traces of herself behind. In fact, she’s a master of disguises, and the chances of her being caught are slim to none. But The Eye knows what she is doing, and he seems to have the evidence needed to shut down her operation and put her away for good. As more bodies pile up though, he keeps quiet, and even seems to protect her at times. Whenever he thinks he can finally catch her, he realizes that if she goes into custody, his time with her would be over. Can The Eye overcome whatever feelings cause him to allow her to escape, and finally end her reign of death and terror?
In recent years, it seems like the thriller genre is the most visited of all genres, at least a couple of them are always out in the theaters. With that many thrillers floating around, there’s bound to be some good ones, as well as some really bad ones. So it was with some doubts I slipped Eye of the Beholder into my player, for sake of this review. While some of my doubts were dismissed, this film still sits in the middle of the road in the thriller genre. It’s not bad by any means, but then again, it’s just not that good. I enjoyed the film the first time around, but upon a second viewing, I was bored and listless. That is a major flaw when it comes to home video, since repeat viewings are what fuels a purchase, right? In any case, the movie is worth a watch once, if nothing else for the lush visuals the film supplies at times. Director Stephan Elliot has an eye for dazzling visuals, and some scenes in this film are excellent, in terms of aesthetic value. So now I need to render my verdict on this film and disc, and I have mixed results to report. The film warrants a viewing, but a rental should more than cover most of the readers, since the film doesn’t lend itself well to repeat viewings. If you loved the film however, this disc has terrific audio and video, as well as some nice supplements, so don’t hesitate to pick this up.
This film was written and directed by Stephan Elliot, who also helmed the feature film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. That film was very entertaining, but I was worried how Elliot would make the transition from that style of film into a thriller like this. While he does slip up at times, overall I feel this is Elliot’s strongest directing effort to date, and sets the stage well for his future endeavors. The film hinges on two leads, played by Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd. Judd (Natural Born Killers, Kiss the Girls) made this film fresh off of Double Jeopardy, so it’s kind of thriller overload with her of late. While her performance here isn’t without flaws, she does turn in a strong turn, better than her work in Double Jeopardy. Ewan McGregor (Rogue Trader, The Phantom Menace) seems like a fish out of water in this thriller at times, but he manages to be solid, if a bit awkward. The two have good chemistry in this film, but I hope they choose a different genre if they work together again. The eclectic supporting cast includes Genevieve Bujold (Dead Ringers, The House Of Yes), k.d. lang (Tv’s The Last Don), Patrick Bergin (One Man’s Hero, Patriot Games), and Jason Priestley (The Highwayman, Sink or Swim).
Video: How does it look?
Eye of the Beholder is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame version included on the disc’s flip side. In Columbia’s tradition of fine transfers, this movie looks fantastic here, with a clean print and compression error free transfer. The colors look bright and bold when needed and muted when called for, without ever dipping into erring territory. The flesh tones appear natural and consistent, never breaking up or distorting. Contrast is solid as well, with very high visible detail level and excellent shadow layering.
Audio: How does it sound?
This isn’t really an audio driven film, but the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track kicks in when it has to. The music comes through well, and the effects both subtle and prominent, sound great in this mix. The movie revolves around dialogue however, which sounds wonderful here. No volume issues arise, and the separation is acceptable also.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release contains the theatrical trailer, as well as bonus trailers, production notes, and talent files. This disc also includes a running commentary with director Stephan Elliot. This is an excellent track, filled with both technical and humorous information. This is a must listen for those who liked the movie, and adds a lot of value to the overall package.