Eye of the Needle

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

You know, romance happens in the strangest of circumstances sometimes, doesn’t it? I mean, here’s Lucy (Kate Nelligan), who lives with her family on a remote island, just kinda passing the time. Her life is not fulfilling at all, especially her love life, since her husband is a crippled and bitter man. But even with these problems, it’s not like she expected romance to arrive in a shipwreck or anything. On the other side of this equation is Faber (Donald Sutherland), who is a charismatic man with a secret lifestyle, who happens to become a resident of the island, although by accident, literally. These two people meet, and forge a friendship right away, with more than that dawning on the romantic horizon. Lucy falls hard and fast for Faber, but she has no idea what lurks inside this man she now loves. As they become closer and the romance gets deeper, she finally learns the truth about Faber. He is also known as “The Needle,” an elite spy for Nazi Germany, who is en route to help derail the D-Day invasion. Torn between love and war, Lucy is forced to choose not only a true love, but also decide between warring factions.

While this movie is a suspense/thriller, I feel it works better as a character driven than thrill driven film. The picture explores our lead characters quite extensively, and we learn about their inner workings and desires. This is of utmost importance, since we need to care about the characters for the twist to mean anything to us, right? While the writing is very good, I feel the actors are responsible for the positive aspects of this film, especially Sutherland. The production design is well organized and presents a realistic atmosphere for the movie’s events as well. This is more than just a spy movie or suspense/thriller, it’s a human movie, where human feelings and thought patterns are looked. While I do enjoy this movie, I feel younger viewers may not, since the movie does feel dated, to a certain extent. So, I recommend this movie to fans of the genre, and a rental for others. The disc is a worthy investment if you favor the film, so don’t hesitate to pick it up.

As I mentioned, the cast really drives this movie, and I can’t pick one role that could have been better cast. Donald Sutherland (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Virus) gives his typical excellent performance here, showing off his dramatic skills nicely. His mixture of sensitivity and cunning is perfect, which makes the romance between his character and Lucy seem believable. Playing Lucy is Kate Nelligan, who at this time was a newcomer. Since then, Nelligan (The Cider House Rules, Up Close & Personal) has build an impressive resume, but she still manages even early on to impress with her talents. The solid performance of Christopher Cazenove is even more impressive when you factor in the difficulties the role demanded. Cazenove (Windmills of the Gods, Three Men and a Little Lady) was called on to wear heavy iron castings on his legs, to keep him from moving them, since his character was crippled in a car wreck. The supporting cast also includes Philip Brown (Special Olympics) and Ian Bannen (Braveheart, Waking Ned Devine).

Video: How does it look?

Eye of the Needle is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. While this is more the fault of the source material than this transfer, the movie is riddled with grain and print damage which is quite distracting at times. When the grain kicks in, the colors become muted and the contrast looks a little bright, but the image still looks decent, certainly not unmatchable. When the grain is at a minimum, the image is very good, but the wear signs on this print bring down the visual rating quite a bit.

Audio: How does it sound?

The mono track is adequate, since the movie relies on dialogue for the most part. The effects and music come through well, with no muddiness present. The dialogue sounds very good, volume is consistent and the spoken lines are never lost in the mix.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The disc contains the original theatrical trailer, and the insert inside the case features some production notes.

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