A Review by Akiva Gottlieb
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of viewing the
restored version of Alfred Hitchcock's classic `Rear
Window'. That masterpiece about voyeurism influenced
all later films on the subject, many of which became
classics as well. `Eye Of The Beholder', the latest
film to tackle voyeuristic themes, fails miserably,
but not because of its subject's familiarity.
Australian filmmaker Stephan Elliott began his career
with the art-house hit `The Adventures Of Priscilla,
Queen Of The Desert' and then proceeded to make
`Welcome To Woop Woop', one of the worst films to
manage a theatrical release in recent years. His
latest film is a silly, contrived noir and the second
release from Destination Films.
Ewan McGregor stars as Eye (I kept waiting for the
inevitable `Eye did it!' line, but it wasn't there), a
private investigator who does his peeping with
computer technology. For inconsequential reasons, his
wife left him, and his daughter only exists as a
His task is to follow Joanna (Ashley Judd), a woman
who kills men for their money and takes many baths.
Eye follows her across the country and develops an
infatuation for her. Eye is a father who has lost his
daughter, while Joanna is a daughter who has lost her
father. Isn't that interesting?
If nothing else, Stephan Elliott does give `Eye Of The
Beholder' an interesting look. Most of the cars and
clothes have a 50's noirish style. It's too bad that
Elliott doesn't give us a clue as to what it all
By the film's final third, most of the plot does not
make sense either. Many characters change
personalities without any explanation. There are also
numerous heavy-handed astrological references which
merely add to the silliness of the production.
The reason why `Eye Of The Beholder' stays watchable
is because of a fine, restrained performance by Ewan
McGregor. Singlehandedly, he gives the film its tiny
sense of mystery. Speaking of mysteries, what is
Ashley Judd's appeal? In this film especially, she
does little more than show some skin and speak lines
However, the two worst performances come from two
unlikely faces. The first, from pop vocalist k.d.
lang, is so unbelievably bad that laughter is
inevitable. `Beverly Hills, 90210' alumnus Jason
Priestley also has five awful minutes of screen time
as a small-town junkie.
`Eye Of The Beholder' is a strange film that leaves
too many questions unanswered. Thankfully, the
filmmakers know that by the end the audience will no
longer care. Destination Films didn't make a mistake
by dumping this film into the cinematic pit known as
January. Hell, it'll probably even make some cash.
I can't recommend this film to any audience, other
than to those obsessed with Ewan McGregor. Because
aside from him, there isn't much beauty in the eye of
Copyright © 1999 Akiva Gottlieb