What a disaster. Eye of the Beholder is the type of film that, if there was justice in this world, should have been ignored as a bad direct-to-video film. But, instead, capitalizing on the recent successes of its stars, the movie now plagues your local theater. Don’t be fooled.
Ewan McGregor stars as Eye, an antisocial surveillance expert in the employ of the British embassy in Washington (apparently only as an excuse for his accent). He builds his listening devices and cameras onto high powered rifles (because they’re so unnoticeable, I guess), and has established himself as one of the best of his trade (somewhere before the movie starts…there’s no evidence of it in here). Oh, and yes, he often talks to his imaginary daughter, who may actually exist.
His latest case has him following his employer’s son, who has gotten into a wee bit of trouble. But the movie takes a severe twist with the appearance of a mysterious femme fatale (Ashley Judd), with strong emphasis on the fatale. She’s actually a moody serial killer who quickly slays the above mentioned boss’ son, sobs about her Daddy, dons a new wig, and quickly hops to a new state.
Well, of course, Eye falls instantly in love. Well, who wouldn’t be? He neglects his duties (much to the consternation of his embassy contact, k.d. lang), and follows her all over the country, collecting countless snow globes as he goes (don’t ask). And then the film completely stops making sense…
Eye of the Beholder starts out potentially intriguing. However, watching the film, it suddenly dawns on you that all the main characters are completely insane. And it’s not the friendly, wacky, enjoyable-to-watch, movie kind of insane, either. No, it the gruelling, no-motives-to-absolutely-anything-they-do, kind of crazy. The movie is an exercise in pointlessness.
It’s interesting to speculate how such promising talent as Judd and McGregor could have been engulfed in this horrific swamp of celluloid. Perhaps the script, based on the novel by Marc Behm, at one time made sense. It’s difficult to imagine, however. Maybe they were lured by the quirky charms of director Stephan Elliott (of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert fame). But those charms are not at all in evidence here.
As psychotic serial killers go, I suppose Ashley Judd isn’t that bad. And, heck, she might even be sympathetic if she didn’t have the nasty habit of knifing every guy she meets! OK..that’s uncalled for, she somehow drowns one of them…but the point is still valid.
But what are we to make of Eye? You want to like him…you really do. But then he starts getting creepy. Really, really creepy. The protagonists of this movie are a serial killer and a crazed stalker, and this isn’t even a dark comedy. It tries to be a serious drama, but falls completely flat.
I suppose if there’s one good thing to say about this movie, it would be that it’s pretty unpredictable. Incomprehensible…but unpredictable.