Release Date: March 17th, 2006 (Angelika Film Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas) by New Yorker Films.
The Cast: Laia Marull, Luis Tosar, Candela Peña, Rosa Maria Sardà, Kiti Manver, Sergi Calleja, Nicolás Fernández Luna.
Directed by Icíar Bollaín.
BASIC PREMISE: Pilar (Marull) runs away from her abusive husband Antonio (Tosar) while he tries to get back with her.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Take My Eyes maintains a suspenseful, intense plot, but without sacrificing any character development. Pilar wants to get away from Antonio from the very start and she has every right to given how physically abusive he seems to be. Surprisingly, none of the real physical abuse occurs onscreen, yet it’s still easy to hate Antonio for his insane bursts of rage and mental torment. As soon as she gets out of the house, Pilar moves with her son to her sister’s (Peña) house. At this point, Take My Eyes deviates from the typical dramatic thriller genre to an unpredictable, character-driven drama—very much unlike Sleeping with the Enemy . The script by Icíar Bollaín and Alicia Luno is allows enough room for the characters to breathe and to realistically talk without making them one-dimensional or clichéd. In fact, Antonio sees a therapist who tries to cure his “mental illness”. Director Icíar Bollaín includes some very interesting, unexpected subtleties without going over-the-top. Both Laia Marull and Luis Tosar give decent performances as Pilar and Antonio, respectively, but it’s really the tender, organic script that hooks you right into the film from start to finish without any gimmicky plot twists.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Take My Eyes tackles the issue of domestic abuse with a level of maturity rarely seen in films these days. Antonio abuses Pilar, yet, the films makes you wonder whether or not he can still love her. For that matter, should Pilar love him back? Romantic relationships certainly have their ups and downs. At the same time, it’s important to forgive but not to forget, just like Pilar does. Antonio seems like a villain at first, but soon he feels regret and even remorse when he talks to his therapist—come on, how often do you see “villains” in movies who to go see shrinks? Love does come in many different forms, but, like with Pilar, everyone has their limitations.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: A mature, sophisticated dramatic thriller! The organic script and complex characters feel like a breath of fresh air!
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
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