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White Of The Eye

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    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • White Of The Eye



    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: November 17th, 2015.
    Director: Donald Cammell
    Cast: David Keith, Cathy Moriarty, Danielle Smith, Art Evans, Alan Rosenberg
    Year: 1987
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Donald Cammell, probably best known for co-directing Performance with Nicholas Roeg and for helming The Demon Seed, directs this odd thriller from 1987. The film opens with an over the top murder set piece in which an unseen figure enters the home of a well to do woman and kills her in her kitchen, spilling red wine and flowers all over the floor. The police show up and investigate and it turns out this is another in a line of similar murders that have been taking place in Arizona as of late.

    The cops, led by Detective Mendoza (Art Evens) question a high end stereo installer named Paul White (David Keith), as some unusual tire tread marks found at the crime scene match the tires on his van. Paul shrugs it off but seems to be keeping something form his wife, Joan (Cathy Moriarty at her stone cold foxiest!) and their daughter Danielle (Danielle Smith). From here, we learn through a series of flashbacks about how Joan wound up in this small desert town when she and her then boyfriend Mike Desantos (Alan Rosenberg) were travelling from New York City to Malibu Beach. They stopped in to get their stereo repaired by Paul and Joan hooked up with him and never left. At the same time, Mike got to see Paul for who he really was, but never bothered to tell Joan before he went back east to do a stint in Attica. When another dead body shows up, the police investigation intensifies…

    Although this one may occasionally veer into style over substance territory, Cammell has such tight control over the visuals that it's hard to get too upset. This is a fantastic looking film, with some well-placed extreme ocular close up shots tying in with the film's title and theme and some wild use of color keeping our eyes darting about the screen. The murder set pieces are on par with those seen in some of the more memorable Italian Giallo films made in the decades prior and are as flashy and as ripe with sexual tension as you could imagine. The pacing slips here and there and the first hour is pretty much all build up, but there's enough going on here that even when that happens, we're still intrigued.

    The fact that the acting in the movie is as strong as it is helps the film a lot too. Moriarty is excellent here. She's appealing enough physically that you can see why Paul would be so drawn to her as quickly as he is but her acting is rock solid. She's good in the more emotional moments in the picture but also strong in the finale where things get dangerous. David Keith is also good here. He plays his character almost as if he's bi-polar, really going for extremes in Paul's dual nature, but he and Moriarty have chemistry and make a believable couple. Alan Rosenberg as the sleazy ex-boyfriend is well cast and Danielle Smith in a small but important supporting role as the Whites' young daughter is oddly effective.

    Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and Rick Fenn of 10cc contribute a quirky but effective original score while the use of pop songs throughout the movie also stands out. It might all have an obvious veneer of eighties commercialism about its appearance but it works. This is slick, stylish and fairly engrossing stuff, an atypical thriller that makes for interesting viewing.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Shout! Factory's domestic Blu-ray release of White Of The Eye uses the same transfer as the Arrow Region B release that came out last year, but that's not a bad thing at all. The AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation is properly framed at 1.85.1 and it looks quite good. The flashback scenes have been bleached so they appear less detailed and with some very 'hot' looking contrast and some shots are definitely using an intentionally softer focus, but those stylistic choices aside the picture shows excellent detail. Texture and depth are also impressive here and color reproduction looks great. Black levels are strong, and the image is free of compression artifacts, edge enhancement or any obvious noise reduction. It's also a very clean picture, in that there aren't any problems with print damage, dirt or debris while the obvious grain that does appear seems natural enough.

    English language audio options are provided in DTS-HD in your choice of the original 2.0 Stereo or a 5.1 surround mix with removable subtitles offered in English only. Both tracks are clean, clear and nicely balanced with the 5.1 mix predictably spreading the score and effects around through the surround channels. Dialogue stays easy to follow and perfectly audible and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion.

    Carried over from the aforementioned Arrow release is an audio commentary by Donald Cammell biographer Sam Umland who delivers a solid mix of biographical information about Cammell and his work as well as some critical analysis of the feature presentation.

    The disc also includes three interviews, the first of which is Into The Vortex, an eighteen minute segment with actor Alan Rosenberg who played Detective Menozza in the picture. Rosenberg talks about working on the film with Cammell, his thoughts on the picture and his character and his experiences on the set. Eye Of The Detective spends sixteen minutes interviewing Art Evans, the actor who played Mike in the film and who obviously is a big part of the storyline. He too talks about working with Cammell and the rest of the cast and crew involved with the picture, while Into The White, an eleven minute long piece with cinematographer and steadicam operator Larry McConkey, covers the technical side of things as he talks about some of the more unusual shots used in the picture and what went into getting the cinematography just right for the film.

    Rounding out the extras are five and a half minutes of deleted scenes with commentary by Sam Umland, an alternate opening credit sequence and eleven minutes of the flashback scenes presented without the Bleach Bypass process laid over top. Animated menus and chapter selection are also included and as this is a combo pack release, a DVD version of the movie containing the same extras as the Blu-ray is also included.

    The Final Word:

    White Of The Eye goes a bit off the rails towards the end but getting there is a pretty wild ride. The performances are really strong here, Cathy Moriarty in particular is great, and the use of music and arthouse style direction makes this one stand out from the pack. Shout! Factory's Blu-ray looks and sounds really nice and there are some strong supplements included here too.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





















    • Ian Jane
      #2
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      Ian Jane commented
      Editing a comment
      It's not over the top but there is some. Even if there were none though, this would still be worth seeing. It's pretty out there.

    • paul h.
      #3
      paul h.
      woly boly
      paul h. commented
      Editing a comment
      I love this movie! Glad it's finally available in the US. Psychopaths don't need a motive, and they may be sitting right next to you.

    • Randy G
      #4
      Randy G
      Senior Member
      Randy G commented
      Editing a comment
      What a weird movie. Stranger than Performance because it doesn't feel like it is trying to be odd, it just is.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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