Julia’s Eyes (2011, dir.Guillem Morales) Movie Review
The poster for Julia’s Eyes was a honey trap for me mainly because it had Guillermo Del Toro’s name in big bold letters.
I was aware going into the film that this was a film ‘presented by’ rather than directed or written by Del Toro.
Too often the phrase ‘presented by’ is used to draw crowds to a mediocre movie using a big name.
A film ‘presented by Wes Craven’ is not going to be as good as A Nightmare on Elm Street, even though that’s what the poster implies. At other times it can be a way for those in the industry to shed light on deserving projects from less well-known directors.
The latter was certainly the case with the last film Del Toro presented. The Orphanage—which is one of my all time favourites—deposited a certain amount of trust with Del Toro’s name.
After watching Julia’s Eyes though, that balance is close to being withdrawn.
Julia’s Eyes tells the story of a woman losing her eyesight while trying to solve the mystery of her sister’s suicide. As light is shed on her sister’s private life, she suspects foul play and Julia soon finds herself at the hands of an ‘invisible-man’ style stalker.
The film is a whodunnit and treated with some very atmospheric and minimal Carpenter-esque directing which makes for some edge of the seat scenes.
However, a lot of the scenes tend to repeat themselves with infuriating logic. I lost count of the number of times Julia goes running off into the dark to investigate a strange noise when she knows there’s a killer on the loose.
The way supporting characters keep being introduced and begin talking in riddles with useful bits of information rather than simply saying; ‘the killer is…’ and the way Julia seems to master the art of detective work in a matter of hours makes it hard to suspend your disbelief.
In fact, I could believe more in an invisible man running around than I could in some of the way the characters acted.
Coupled with the sub-plot of Julia coming to terms with the loss of her own sight and mawkish relationship with her husband that runs throughout the film, you get the sense that the director was trying to shoehorn a film that would have been fine as a standalone thriller into the Del Toro fairytale mould.
Julia’s Eyes is entertaining while it lasts if you can overlook its fractured plot and artificial sentimentality.