Thursday, 19 May 2016

Julia's Eyes - film review

Julia's Eyes is a Spanish film from 2010, directed and co-written by Guillem Morales, which occupies the genre borderland between crime and horror. It's a creepy, chilling movie that has earned widespread acclaim, and for good reason. It's a dark and compelling story, several notches ahead of most films about deranged killers.

The story concerns twins, Julia and Sara, who both suffer from an unspecified degenerative eye disease - a rather different one from the degenerative eye diseases suffered by friends which I've come across n real life, and some of the scientific details struck me as highly unlikely, but not so as to ruin the story. With this kind of movie, of course one needs to suspend disbelief.

At the beginning of the film, Sara is being tormented by an unknown adversary, to the extent that she hangs herself. Since part of the torture involves playing "The Look of Love", which for me is one of the most gorgeous popular songs ever written, I found myself rather taken aback; but of course, it's all about irony. Sara hates the song, which again tested credulity to breaking point, but let it pass!

The meat of the story concerns Julia's attempt to discover the truth about Sara's fate, and that of various other people who have the misfortune to get in the way of the unknown adversary. Several of the scenes are not for the faint-hearted, but crucially, the violence is not handled in a gratuitous way. Belen Rueda is Julia, and her performance, in a role where the temptation might be to ham it up, is impressive. A tense film that held my attention from start to finish.

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