Thursday, July 31, 2003

Pop-cornea movie

Movie: The Eye

Posted on Thu, Jul 31, 2003 at 4:00 AM

The Eye
Length: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Studio: Palm Pictures
Release Date: 2003-08-01
Cast: Lee Sin-Je, Lawrence Chou, Chutcha Rujinanon, Laurence Chou, Yut Lai So
Director: Danny Pang, Oxide Pang
Screenwriter: Danny Pang, Oxide Pang
Music Score: Orange Music
WorkNameSort: The Eye
Our Rating: 0.00

Since "The Eye" is a Hong Kong horror film, one expects it to be very stylish and fairly irrational -- and it delivers on both counts. Yet a certain triumph of the irrational is essential to the genre.

Picking up the "He tampered in God's domain" aspect of the horror/sci-fi genre, the movie centers on a cornea-transplant operation that's meant to restore the sight of a young, blind violinist named Min (Lee Sin-Je). At first, the operation appears successful. But soon Min, who's still in the hospital, seems to be seeing a strange personage leading certain patients away in the dead of night.

To coin a phrase, she sees dead people. Eventually, as a kind of evil bonus, she also seems to be able to foresee disastrous events. These questionable windfalls come even as Min is trying to adjust to her new ability to see -- a disorienting enough experience without the ghostly apparitions. Her sister, meanwhile, is too self-absorbed to really notice Min's distress; there's more potential in the violinist's growing attachment to a young shrink, who will eventually help her solve the mystery of her visions.

In one of the movie's cleverest conceits, we experience Min's visions as she herself sees them: indistinctly and out of focus. That blurriness is a good substitute for the subjective camera that's often used to hide the source of evil in films of this nature. Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang, the twin brothers who directed "The Eye," have found a masking device that grows organically from their story, and they use it well.

Along with the smudgy visuals, the first part of the movie goes heavy on the shock cuts and sudden loud noises -- effective interruptions in a narrative that leans toward the quiet and introspective. The conclusion of the movie, which ups the mumbo-jumbo ante in a manner oddly reminiscent of "The Mothman Prophecies," doesn't really live up to its early promise. But then, supernatural solutions are rarely as satisfying as supernatural mysteries, are they?



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