Julia's Eyes (2010)
Director: Guillem Morales
A blind chick â€ścommits suicideâ€ť and its up to her twin sister Julia (Belen Rueda), who is gradually going blind as a bat herself, to find out if dark forces had a hand at nixing out her sis.
JULIAâ€™S EYES (aka Los ojos de Julia) was produced by the great Guillermo Del Toro (who obviously has a flair for finding young talent and I donâ€ťt mean hookers, I mean top notch directors) and was directed by filmmaker on the rise Guillem Morales and was yet another gorgeous and intense genre gift from Spain, one that got the job done.
JULIAâ€™S EYES, got my juices flowing for a plethora (Yeah plethoraâ€¦first time I use that wordâ€¦ pretty gnarly hey? Sighâ€¦) of reasons. Although it was first and foremost a dramatic piece, I couldnâ€™t help but have my beat-less heart swayed by its Giallo influences. I heard some peeps after my screening compare the film to early Brian DePalma, but I beg to differ, it echoed Wait Until Dark (1967) by way of old school Dario Argento (whom DePalma shamelessly ripped off at the beginning of his career) in ambiance, visual style, moments of harsh brutality and via its gripping investigation angle. And being that Argentoâ€™s early work is one of my favorite things in the world right next to chasing tail; I relished in seeing that vibe communicated here.
The only aspect that prevented this baby from being a full blown Giallo was that even thought it had a female being victimized by an unseen assailant, she wasnâ€™t no helpless, yelping hussy, flashing her tits and waiting to die under a knife of sexual repression/frustration. Julia, played fiercely by Belen Rueda (she also starred in the Guillermo del Toro produced The Orphanage) made for a compelling character to follow around. I shared in her obsession, her pain, respected her strength and even found her sexy in a MILF/make me some pancakes before we bone kind of way. Huge props to Belen Rueda for carrying the film so effortlessly; she was basically in every frame here and owned them all! This chickâ€™s got chops like forget about it and with a lesser actress; the thing may not have gone down as smooth.
Another strength of JULIAâ€™S EYES is that it knew how to generate tension and capitalize on what it had to max it up. Juliaâ€™s degenerative eye disease for example was used slyly here both on a narrative and visual standpoint. The blinder she got, the higher the stakes and thicker the suspense became while the visual approach (POV shot going dark and blurry) to communicate her loss of sight worked on me like a BJ on Prom night. It also helped the proceedings that the shenanigans were set in such a morose, Gothic vibed and stylish canvas. What a wonderful looking movie this was! I so grooved to Guillem Morales intimidate shooting style, his use of shadows, his heavy handed atmosphere (love that rain and the ominous grey skies) and his inventive shots (dude had quite the eye). Tag to that a powerful violin inclined score, a strong supporting turn by famous Catalan actor LluĂs Homar and a milking of creepy locations and you get a classy, dread filled and at times nasty little flick.
On the downside, running 117 minutes long, this bad girl would have benefited from a small trim job (insert your own sexual joke here). The pace lagged at times, hence making way for the grip around my neck to loosen. Moreover; I found the big twist mucho predictable; to the point that when the rage stricken cat was out of the body bag, I was like â€ťYeah I knew that alreadyâ€¦ohâ€¦ it was supposed to be a surprise? Didnâ€™t get the memoâ€¦ sorry.â€ť So further tweaking of the script to cover up and fine tune its turns would have been swell. Finally I really could have done without the tacky final frames. I knew what they were going for, but it just didnâ€™t work for me, I slightly vomited in my own mouthy thereâ€¦but heyâ€¦at least it was nacho remains coming back up to say wassup so all goodâ€¦ ummmâ€¦nachosâ€¦
At the end of my watch; I could say I was fulfilled by Juliaâ€™s assâ€¦umâ€¦I mean Eyes. Not a flawless picture by any means, but one that put out a strong lead dame, enough heart, sumptuous imagery and bam moments of â€śoh shitâ€ť violence to satisfy. Worth a watch!
We get slit throat, stabbings, a needle in an eyeball (ouch) and more! Not a gorefest but when it came time to get down, it did it with zero apologies.
T & A
We get some tit action during a locker room scenes. Arrow Jr. was pleased.
JULIAâ€™S EYES was a visually stunning and well acted effort that often reveled in its Giallo roots. The Gothic imagery, the oppressive atmosphere and the left field moments of unflinching nastyness also kicked in to up this one's impact. Yeah I wish the screenplay wouldâ€™ve been polished up a tad to have it surprises be surprises, those final frames blew and a minor trim job couldâ€™ve helped keep this one a vice grip the whole way; but with that, it was yet another superior than the norm Spanish horror film that was worth the sit down. Recommended!
BelĂ©n Rueda was born on March 16, 1965 in Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
This was director Guillem Morales first feature.