Eye of the Beholder (1999) / Thriller-Mystery
MPAA Rated: R for some strong violence, sexuality, language and brief drug content
Running Time: 109 min.
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ashley Judd, Jason Priestly, k. d. lang, Patrick Bergin
Director: Stephen Elliott
Screenplay: Stephen Elliott (based on the book by Marc Behm)
Review published March 7, 2000
Eye of the Beholder is the perfect example of why it's a disaster to try to make an art film out of a standard thriller. Stephan Elliott, acclaimed for his work on The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, commits directorial blunder after blunder in making what could have been fascinating and turning it into disengagingly odd. Quality actors, a seemingly interesting storyline, and themes that are fresh for a thriller of this genre are shamefully wasted in yet another director who feels he's an artist first and an entertainer second.
The plot deals with a private investigator tailing a female serial killer and becomes close to her despite never meeting before due to tragic relationships with family in their respective pasts.
There isn't much to recommend here other than in seeing all of the missed opportunities fall flat in scene after scene. If there's anything worse than seeing a bad movie, it's seeing a good movie made badly and sadly Eye of the Beholder could have been much better in the hands of someone more qualified in making smart thrillers than quirky art comedies. Stephan Elliott is a fine director, but he's in territory he should never have been in, and it shows. There's a reason Hitchcock didn't direct Westerns, John Ford didn't direct musicals and Capra didn't direct horror. Hopefully next time Elliott sticks with his quirky farces and stays out of mainstream actioners, so we won't endure more of these messes.
©2000 Vince Leo