Friday, November 11, 2005

A Sight for Sore Eyes (2003)


A Film Review

Copyright Dragan Antulov 2005

Old adage about good literature being adapted into bad movies and vice versa could be applied even for genre novels. Opus of British mystery writer Ruth Rendell - praised for the richness of her plots and characterisations - is another good example. This richness tends not to materialise on screen, because the medium of feature film either simplifies plots or characters or makes them incomprehensible in too faithful adaptations. A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES, 2004 French thriller directed by Gilles Bourdos is the example of the latter.

The protagonist of the film is Bruno Keller (played by Grégoire Colin) aspiring art student obsessed with the idea of living in temple-like house covered with white walls. For Bruno his art is an escape from the childhood traumas embodied in his alcoholic father (played by Bernard Bloch) and uncle (played by Etienne Chicot). When his father dies, Bruno kills his uncle. While thinking about ways to get rid of the body he meets Elise Gardet (played by Julie Ordon), young woman whose childhood was marred in slightly different way - eleven years ago she witnessed brutal murder of her mother. Her former therapist Brigitte (played by Anne Catillon) now lives with her as over-protective stepmother. Elise begins relationship with Bruno while increasingly paranoid Brigitte begins to lose grip on reality.

A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES might be criticised for many things, but not for production design. Since aesthetic vision plays important part in protagonist's life, great deal of effort is spent in creating memorable images and everyday surrounding that should suggest Bruno and other protagonists' alienation and descent into criminal madness. Sadly, the effort in that area isn't matched with efforts in proper storytelling. The pace of the plot is snail-like while many subplots are confusing. The audience will need to pay more attention than usual in order to actually comprehend what is going on and who the characters actually are. Some of those characters are introduced too late for the audience to care about them or for their drastic mood changes to be properly explained. Under such conditions, even the best acting can't improve general impression of the film. This includes even Swiss model Julie Ordon, one of few elements of the film that lives to its title. After watching more than two hours of A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES too many eyes will remain sore.

RATING: 3/10 (+)


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