Although directed by Stephan Elliott with an enjoyable visual flair, Eye of the Beholder falls short on too many levels of its obvious aspirations to be a thriller worthy of genre maestro Alfred Hitchcock. Excellent performances are delivered by leads Ewan McGregor, who offers a panicky desperation new to his repertoire, and Ashley Judd, who has made a specialty out of playing characters who refuse, even violently, to be victimized. The film goes off track, however, because both The Eye (McGregor) and Joanna (Judd) remain ciphers for too much of the narrative and their characters never really develop in any substantive way, rather drift from one horribly gut-wrenching experience to another. Lack of character development leads to lack of motivation; thus, many of Joanna's actions -- like her murderous behavior and cross-country meandering -- are baffling. Confusing also is The Eye's past; he seems too much a milquetoast, as well as emotionally unstable to have ended up a high-tech spy entrusted with government secrets; the film's forays into hallucinogenic dream sequences that attempt to illustrate his attachment to his long-lost daughter are turgid and greatly hamper its pace. Although the filmmakers are to be congratulated for setting the bar so high, a few genuinely surprising plot twists are not enough to sustain interest in Eye of the Beholder.
by Karl Williams review