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Eye of the Beholder

Starring: Ashley Judd, Ewan McGregor
Director: Stephan Elliott
Genre: Thriller
Year: 1999
Rating: 1 / 5

How important is it that the a movie fan connects with a film's main characters? If it is even mildly important, Eye of the Beholder is a miserable failure. Come to think of it, no matter the criteria, Eye of the Beholder is a miserable failure! Why Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd agreed to appear in this dud is beyond me, and I certainly hope they collected their paychecks up front. This Stephan Elliott "thriller," if it can be called that, is devoid of tension, makes an atrocious attempt at character development, and is not at all involving. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this viewer is utterly repulsed.

The "Eye" (Ewan McGregor) is a British operative working in America when he is assigned to put the twenty-something son of his immediate superior under surveillance. When the young lad is murdered by a mysterious, beautiful woman, our reclusive sleuth begins pursuit. Why? At first, it seems that Eye is merely trying to understand the motive for the brutal slaying, but soon, we see that his pursuit has taken on even more bizarre undertones. As he follows the strange woman (Ashley Judd) all across the United States, he watches her commit numerous murders, always arriving minutes too late. Each time law enforcement begins closing in, he even helps her to escape. Say what?!

Eye of the Beholder fails because it is impossible for the viewer to understand Ewan McGregor's character's obsession with this woman. His character's unbalanced nature is revealed early, as he continually banters with his estranged daughter. Nonetheless, he rapidly transforms from cyber-savvy secret agent into a pathetic stalker. The plot is equally convoluted, as director Elliott decided to ignore all references to time. Ashley Judd's character hops from city to city in the span of days, weeks, months - we never seem to know. At one point, we are told that she has lost her child, yet she was never shown to be pregnant. Who was the father to have been? Nothing is explained, and, as Ewan McGregor's character spirals further into obsession, we stop caring.

Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd are totally wasted in Eye of the Beholder, not to say that supporting players Patrick Bergin and k.d.Lang come off looking any better. Judd seems to be little more than window dressing, prancing in and out of countless bad wigs that serve little purpose. McGregor's depraved agent is a total bore, not the least bit redeemable and scary only in his blandness. Eye of the Beholder envisions itself as a stylish, sophisticated thriller, delving into the thorny underbelly of obsession. In reality, it is a two-hour stroll through nothingness, without meaning and without hope.

Cast:

Ewan McGregor..........Eye
Ashley Judd..........Joanna Eris
Patrick Bergin..........Alex Leonard

Certification: Rated R for violence, language, and brief nudity.
Running Time: 101 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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[critics]