Eye Of The Beholder


Directed by: Stephan Elliott
Written by:Stephan Elliott
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ashley Judd, Patrick Bergin, k. d. lang, Jason Priestly
Released: August 10, 2000
Grade: C+

It’s taken a long time for Stephan Elliot’s latest, Eye Of The Beholder, to reach cinemas.  Completed back in 1998, it was finally released in the United States back in January and attained a very unusual honour.  It debuted in the number 1 spot but became the smallest opening by a number 1 film in over two years.  It promptly slipped from the charts with little fanfare.  In Australia, audiences were even less impressed with the film opening in 9th place - a big difference.

Eye Of The Beholder is an intriguing thriller.  A mysterious detective known only as “the Eye” (McGregor) is given the assignment of watching the boss’s son who is suspected of embezzling family monies.  When the son is murdered by a deceptive woman named Joanna (Judd), Eye finds himself fascinated by her and follows her all across America trying to learn more about her.

There’s not a lot more to say.  The film is a little muddled but that is Elliot’s intention - he doesn’t want to give everything away too early.  All the way, I wasn’t sure where it was going or what it was about and yet I couldn’t stop watching - I had to see how it ended.  Therein lies the flaw - the disappointing ending.

Small side items are also a distraction.  How is it he follows her around without being noticed?  How does he always manage to pack so quickly when she’s on the move?  How does he never manage to lose sight of her?  What is up with all the snow domes?  What happened to the boss?  These questions will really only make sense once you’ve watched the film and I feel I’m not the only one who will be asking them.

Ashley Judd always has a strong presence on screen and her exuberance makes her the most likeable in the film.  McGregor downplays his role and perhaps was not the best man for the job.  Small cameos from actors like k.d. lang and Jason Priestly stop the eyes from wandering but they can’t boost the film’s slower moments (and there are quite a few).

The film’s arthouse style is a gamble that has backfired.  There’s little to take away and little you’ll remember the next day.  On the back of the disgraceful Welcome To Woop Woop, Stephan Elliott should have a close look at the subject material before tackling his next project.  That is of course, if he gets another chance.