Thursday, November 6, 2008

Close Your Eyes

While trying to decide on a good movie to watch, I came across Close Your Eyes. The description sounded intriguing enough to capture my attention. I selected this film, which had a slow steady pace, but managed to move quickly enough to maintain my interest. The combination of British accents, interesting concepts and good acting allowed the film to effectively overcome the sometimes sluggish movement. It ended up being an excellent choice.

Close Your Eyes is an interesting detective story based in England. The story has an Illuminati or Davinci Code type of mystique about it, without being quite as elaborate. A young girl who has been traumatized after escaping from a serial killer is held in police custody while the Department engages in a massive manhunt for the killer. Supernatural elements become evident in the story beginning with the introduction of a hypnotist who accidentally sees the young girl in the thoughts of a Police Officer whom he is trying to help stop smoking. This chance event draws the hypnotist into the investigation which skirts around the occult and supernatural with sometimes bloody consequences. The events twist and turn at a leisurely pace, but quickly enough to keep you guessing on the outcome. The story culminates in a series of events that seem a bit contrived, setting up the plausibility for a sequel.

As a whole, the writing was refreshing. Thrillers have a tendency to be slow paced. When you add supernatural aspects to a Thriller type film, you also end up battling believability. By encasing the script in the occult, there was added credibility, but the major theme of the film was a bit difficult to accept. As entertainment, this film succeeded on the strength of the dialogue and character development which was well explored. I enjoy British films but don’t always understand the meanings of words. I find myself rewinding to see what I missed, sometimes guessing at the word meanings based on context. The dialogue was sharp and because of the accent, interesting. The characters had normal quirks that added dimension. The hypnotist experiences conflict at home based on his descent into the case, which added depth to the story. The antagonists are eerie but maintain a degree of normalcy to give them an element of acceptance. However, they tended to be flatter characters, as villains often are. In essence, the writing had strong dialogue with characters that connect while conveying a story that truly challenges ones ability to buy into the concept.

The acting was superb. Shirley Henderson plays the lead police role of Janet Losey. Her personal issues are briefly explored and she experiences some turmoil at work. Between balancing her character’s personal issues and work stress, Henderson effectively delivered a complex character with enough warts to be believable. Her work is brilliantly mirrored by Goran Visnijc, who I was previously unfamiliar with. Visnjic plays the hypnotist, slowly sinking into a creepy underworld of occultic creepiness. His ability to project confidence while countering his secrecy when dealing with his wife accurately conveyed the concept of a guy reluctantly involves himself in an investigation he really does not want to be consumed by. Visnijc was superb. His delivery is convincing, which made me wonder why I have not seen him before. Miranda Otto balances Visnijc, creating the worried wife role or Clara Strother. She does not come across as overbearing but her obvious concerns are evident. A good blend of concern sans bitshiness. The young girl, Heather, is portrayed by Sophie Stuckey. Stuckey doesn’t get much opportunity to speak and on one rare occasion her voice is not her own. It was a nice piece of dubbing. Stuckey took a part the required non-verbal communication for the most part, and effectively delivered her performance. Stuckey was another exceptional member of a cast that was well chosen.

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