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Canada/United Kingdom/Australia 1999
Directed by
Stephan Elliott
110 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars

Eye Of The Beholder

Australian director Stephan Elliot had a surprise international hit with his queer musical comedy The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (1994). He followed this with the crushingly misguided Welcome To Woop Woop (1997) before crashing and burning with this thriller, his third film. He did not make another film until his surprisingly good to-the-manor-born comedy, Easy Virtue in 2008.

Although technically well-made with effective cinematography and some impressive auteurial flourishes from Elliot, Eye of the Beholder is largely incomprehensible, as if somehow a reel or two went missing. Presumably this impression would be far less so if one had read the1980 Marc Behm neo-noir novel of the same name on which the film is based (and I have not) but as the screen adaptation is also by Elliot the responsibility must lie with the director.

Ewan McGregor is some kind of Washington-based dark ops agent who has gone rogue in pursuit of a globe-trotting female serial killer (Ashley Judd) who is suffering from seriously bad father issues. She may or may not be his ex-wife but certainly the young girl who keeps reappearing and nagging him for attention is his dead daughter.

I can’t even promise that this brief synopsis is accurate but as only the most dogged of audiences will follow the film to the bitter end it doesn’t really matter. You've been warned.

FYI: Behm’s novel was also the basis for Claude Miller’s Deadly Circuit (1983).




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