Eye Of The Beholder
Filmed in Canada, set in the U.S., directed by an Australian, based on a novel previously made into a French film, starring a British actor with questionable taste, and released during the dead of winter, Eye Of The Beholder is a confused little orphan of a movie. Aiming somewhat laughably for art but failing even as a tawdry thriller, it stars Ewan McGregor as a tormented investigator obsessed with a troubled, superstitious woman-with-a-dark-past (Ashley Judd) who may or may not be a serial killer. McGregor follows Judd around America as she seduces and murders any number of men, lurking about in the background, spying on her with expensive equipment, and seeking desperately to "save" her whether she wants to be saved or not. You see, McGregor's character, like nearly everyone here, is insane, and he wavers randomly between tense, eccentric affability and violent lunacy. It's a terrible role, not unlike the one he played in the similarly maddening A Life Less Ordinary, and the problem is not so much a bad performance as it is that the character makes no sense, and is therefore impossible to play. Judd's role is similarly fruitless; she's asked to essentially be Kim Novak in Vertigo in a film that feels like a terrible Brian DePalma knockoff. In his first big studio film, writer-director Stephan Elliott throws nearly every erotic-thriller cliché—the investigator who gets too close, the enigmatic femme fatale, gimmicky attempts to toy with subjectivity, super-stylized camera work—against the wall in the hope that something will stick. Nothing does, and as a result, Eye Of The Beholder feels terribly, terribly off. Full of moody, heavy-handed symbolism and laughable pretensions, it's flaky and meaningless.