Review by LC Cragg
THE EYES, a contained thriller, takes on a lot of issues and challenges, delivering a “not quite there” experience. Kudos to screenwriter, Robert T. Roe for tackling issues such a government surveillance, moral conscience, vigilantism justice and legal loopholes. Throw in murder, confession, mercy and the dynamics of seven characters and the story’s arc and spine sometimes gets lost.
Perhaps a chronological critique without giving away a very clever twist of an ending is the best place to start. The film’s opening set –up reveals six people with unspeakable pasts waking up imprisoned in an abandoned warehouse forced to participate in an evil government experiment.
Add in the voice of the government, (the Antagonist,) Charlie, (played by Nick Turtorro), and there’s a lot going on, perhaps too much. For the first 45 minutes the audience has to follow, good but not great dialogue, which at times is too expository. It is difficult to connect with any of the characters, because a lot of backstory is going on. Also having a face to Charlie earlier on would have enhanced the film’s dramatic intensity.
While all the actors delivered good performances, Robby (played Greg Davis, Jr.)and Jeffery, (played by Danny Flaherty) were the stand –outs. At the film’s midpoint, with an inciting event, the story picks up steam, while the acting becomes more emotionally charged. From that point on, this story provides the key elements of a psychological thriller: believably, character developments, a false sense of control and a shifting of power between the protagonists’ and the antagonist’s truths. Flashbacks were well integrated, increasing the dramatic intensity.
Though slow at the start, the film is well worth watching and just like a Hitchcock classic leaves us with thought provoking takeaways, as to how justice is fairly or unfairly administered in the United States.