Eye of The Beholder

There's no beauty within this one...ok, maybe a little.
May 25, 2011
Hello again, I'm taking you guys through another review of a movie that was made in the late '90s (actually 1999). Now, I'm not a bad reviewer and I do give constructive criticism when it's needed to be. I've seen a lot of members put of reviews for some of their favorite movies, but what I don't see a lot of is reviews of movies that didn't meet up to par. This article is another review of a movie that it's in a grey area for a lot of everyone; I'll start off with a summary and then my opinions of the movie. Also I want to give credit to BestofEwan.com for all the photos used in this article.

Before I go into that, I want to point out something as to why I would write something like this. When I was 12 or 13, not only was I a fan of Jim Carrey but also this other actor named Ewan McGregor. I would try and track down every single movie shop/Blockbuster/Family Video I could get, to see his movies. This one though I usually just fast forwarded through to see him act. I do admire Ewan for his genuine talent as an actor because not a lot of actors can have this unique talent.

Actor's Note: This article contains HUGE spoilers so if you don't want to know what happens in the movie, please don't read it. If you are curious and it's in your queue for Netflix, read on!

Eye of the Beholder (1999)

A private eye named Stephen (aka The Eye) has been shadowing/following the same woman, Johanna Eris (who is a serial killer of men) for the past 10 years across the U.S. In ways he acts like her guardian angel. As he continues to pursuit her, he develops an obsession over this woman. He witnesses her killing her partner and tries to protect her from being caught. Through him watching her, he keeps thinking of his past. Stephen, recently divorced, lost custody of his young daughter and hallucinates seeing her as he hides out in his car and out of sight. He soon starts to put pieces of Eris' life together from being homeless and abandoned from her father, expressing hate toward men. While helping with a blind man cross a busy street, she develops a relationship with him; falling in love and becoming engaged. Stephen is infuriated when she's with another man, believing she shouldn't be with another man and is willing to do anything to stop her from continuing the relationship. Stephen shoots and blows a tire, causing a catastrophic accident, killing Eris' fiancé. She then goes on the run, finally stopping in Arizona, meeting with a stranger who forces her to inject heroin. Finding out she was pregnant, she loses the baby before fleeing north; with Stephen right behind her. Soon she changes her name, looks and takes a job as a waitress in a diner. Stephen is a common regular, ordering coffee. He wants her to be his and finally asks her on a date. She agrees and they have a few drinks, both getting emotional. While together, Eris talks about where she would like to be buried when she dies; then finally closes up and tells Stephen to leave her alone. The next day, police arrive at the diner to take Eris in, but Stephen takes her to his trailer so she won't be caught. She soon finds out that he's the one that has been following her for a long time, shoots him (blanks) and flees. Stephen follows behind and catches up to her and she realizes he is the “angel” that saved her so many times before. With knowing this, she crashes the car. As he pulls her away from the car as it falls into the water, she tells him she knows him and supposedly dies from her injuries. Of course, we never find out.

I don't know how to exactly express how to feel about this movie. Some people say it was good, some say it was the worst film to come around for some time. I'm kind of in the middle. With acting traits from Ashley Judd and Ewan McGregor, you do become close with the characters and you feel for them. In example; Stephen's lost of his child. He feels so lonely. It's as if he has no home to go to because she wouldn't be there. He imagines her she's with him, seeing her skipping down the street; sitting in the car having a conversation. As he focuses more on Eris', he soon forgets about his daughter. With Eris', you see her as a damaged child, broken from her father when she was younger. You also see the maniacal mindset she develops through killing men. It's more of a love/hate relationship with Eris and Stephen. Example of this type of acting came at the end of the movie where Stephen is holding to Johanna's body as she is losing consciousness. He tries to hold back the tears as he slips on a wedding band on her finger. The emotion that McGregor portrays is both of sorrow and accomplishment. He finally got his girl but yet he sees her injured badly, in pain (possibly dying). As the music is played you feel sorry for Stephen as he's spent so long chasing her yet he finally gets to her but its too late, it seems.

"I hope I'm not too late."

My husband isn't a fan of this movie, at all. He said the storyline is loose, bland and isn't intriguing. I can understand on that. The story is rather scrambled and it's just a cat-and-mouse story. Usually movies with this type of chase, you see a lot more action and adventure. Here, you just see some lonely special agent that's engrossed in one woman who he refuses to turn her in because he's in love with her. It's mediocre to say the least. Given that the plot was bland, McGregor and Judd do hold some great chemistry on camera. McGregor portrays a shy yet smart detective, so to speak, and Judd with a soft side of a psychopath. How these two come together, I'll never know. There are some special guest appearances in this movie, such as k.d. lang who stars as the mediator to Stephen from the F.B.I/C.I.A/M-6 (whatever). While growing up and getting out of the googly eyes of admiring Ewan, I came to understand what the movie was about; Obsession. Think about it! A deranged man who is a special agent is smitten with a serial killer, follows her around, and makes her the one thing in his life that he wants. Kind of ironic that when I was 13, Ewan was the only one that I thought of.
I defend this movie, in some degree, saying that for what it was; it was still good, but I realized that I was more infatuated with Ewan McGregor than the actual movie. It's boring at times, stretched out and by far a very petty movie. It was in theatres which I was surprised it was. I would think the quality of this film would be directly to VHS, as were other classics that should have been in theatres. I own the movie because in my teenage years, all I really cared about was seeing Ewan act. I would actually fast forward parts where it was boring and I didn't really care about the story. Now that I'm older, watched it and understood it, I'm glad that I did skip through it when I was younger because I wouldn't get it. I actually sat down and watched it and it had some confusing scenarios and disturbing scenes. There's one scene where Stephen is in a hotel room, next to Johanna. While she's taking a bath singing to herself, some sappy soft-core porn music comes on and Stephen jumps into his bathtub and begins to rub the wall, closing his eyes in the pure thought of actually touching her. Then the camera is shown above him as her leg is raised in the tub and Stephen rubbing the side of the wall, imagining the touch of her skin.

"Mmm.....bathroom wall."

WHAT THE HELL? I realized that there are some creepy people in the world, but this was disgusting. The look that McGregor has on his face and the way he's feeling the wall is disturbing. At first, I thought it was rather lustful but then as I got older and saw the same scene, it was grotesque. How can you have someone follow you around for 10 years and not notice he's there? He never changes his looks or his clothing style. I don't know but I sure would have noticed within a few days if I saw some straggler looking at me and following me about 50 feet away.


Don't get me wrong though. Judd and McGregor are extraordinary actors and can transform any character into an actual person. Their charisma, dedication and willingness to try something new is always rewarding to a viewer or a fan. Eye of the Beholder did fall flat with a lot of people as with other reviews some critics have said that the alternate ending (DVD version) did make the movie a little better with understanding as to what happened with Johanna and Stephen (It wasn't on my DVD though :-() The atmosphere of the movie is more of a solumn one. There's not a lot of brilliant colors but more on the lines of dull yellows and blues, which did set the mood.

Someone catch that tear...

On a scale, I would give this movie a 3/5 ONLY because of the acting abilites of Judd and McGregor. Without the dedication of both actors, this movie wouldn't be in my DVD collection at all and it would be sold at the nearest pawn shop.

Now, Retrojunkers, tell me if you have seen this movie or read about it through a review. What was your inital thought of how this movie would turn out? Did it change your attitude toward the movie? Would you want to see it again?

You know the drill, peeps.
I've lead you down the road to Nostalgia, now it's your turn.

Author's Note: I tried to go a different avenue with this article. I wrote another review on Wishmaster so please check it out! This was something out of the blue and does go back for me a little. Being just 13 and I know that I wasn't the only one who had googly-eyes for some cute actor/band member/singer. This is just one of my memories.
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