Written and Produced by Joss Whedon
Directed by Brin Hill
Starring Zoe Kazan, Michael Stahl-David, Nikki Reed, Steve Harris, Mark Feuerstein, and Jennifer Grey
Joss Whedon seems to be the man with the golden touch, the Midas of Hollywood, if I might be so bold. Whedon recently released his pet project, a “supernatural romance” entitled In Your Eyes. It showed at the Tribecca Film Festival, but did not have a true theatrical release. The film doesn’t boast any really big names or any crazy effects, just Whedon’s touch. But is his touch enough to make this film thrive?
We open with a young boy in school… and a young girl sledding. Already, we see that these two are in opposite worlds. The girl has a horrific sledding accident and the boy collapses to the ground, feeling all the pain that the poor girl has gone through. Flash forward to both of their respective adulthoods. Neither is doing too well. Rebecca (Kazan) is in what seems to be a loveless and controlling marriage up in New Hampshire, while Dylan, (Stahl-David) is on parole in New Mexico, having just finished a two year stint. Obviously, the two have some sort of connection.
It isn’t until we see Dylan get into a bar fight and Rebecca feel the pains of being hit with a pool cue that we really get the gravity of the situation. The two can hear each other and see and feel what the other one is seeing and feeling. Weird. Thus is the basis for not only the movie, but their long distance relationship. The two obviously bond and grow together and strike up a true love for each other.
Although this concept was pretty neat and I felt a definite chemistry between both Kazan and Stahl-David, I thought that the film was kind of cheesy. Don’t get me wrong, this was certainly more entertaining than your normal Nicholas Sparks romance movie, but it doesn’t live up to the Whedon powered gambit that I have come to love. I don’t know if maybe he didn’t give this script enough passes or maybe if director Brin Hill just wasn’t up to snuff. Either way, this film falls flat. Even with a glass of wine I still found the inevitable “telepathic phone sex” scene awkward, forced, and not sexy at all.
I WILL say that the last 15-20 minutes of the movie had me on the edge of my seat. The “will they, won’t they” is heightened a smidge in these last few moments as the stakes were beautifully raised. Also you never quite know if Whedon will kill off one of your favorite characters. A decently fun ride.
The video was good. Nothing too fancy, and the cinematography was quite beautiful in parts, but sadly, also a little over the top for me. I felt like Brin was a college student just discovering the subtext of color schemes, making sure that Rebecca’s world stayed clinical and cold in her husband’s house while Dylan’s whole world was always bathed in warm colors. It just a wee bit too over the top. Other than that, quite nice pictures.
Audio was good as well. I will say that I found the soundtrack to be a bit trite. They used a lot of songs that I had never heard before. And rightly so, this film did not have the budget to afford the A-list artists that you normally hear in big blockbuster pictures. Sadly, these songs were corny and sounded like a cheap knock off of originals that the director would have wanted for the actual film. I have a TON of artist friends who’s songs would have sounded MUCH better in the film. Nothing really wrong here, but nothing really right.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The cover art is Cornball City. It’s a photo of lead actress Kazan looking down and to the side and very basic font telling you the title. And in almost the same size font that it’s from the brilliant mind of Joss Whedon. If the movie is about looking through this woman’s eyes… shouldn’t we SEE her eyes? It looks like a dumb hipster movie and something that no real Whedon fan would want to see. If ANYTHING the cover art makes this film look cheesier, which is a task in itself. The bonus features are non-existent, which is always a real turn off for me. All in all a big fat disappointment.
Overall (Not an Average)
I went into this movie with mediocre expectations, and sadly, I came out with the exact same thoughts. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. And to be quite honest, that’s the worst kind of film. I will probably forget about this one in the next couple of weeks, while people will be talking about the not so great The Interview for the next ten years, for one reason or another. I hope that this was just a little blip in Whedon’s otherwise stellar repertoire, because otherwise, I’m scared for the Marvel franchise and the future of Sci-Fi in Hollywood…