In a small Oaklahoma town, a young man is found bloody and mute by a lake and the local sheriff takes it upon himself to find out what happend to him, and a young woman marries a born-again, but violent prison inmate. — Gen... more »re: Feature Film-Drama
"Though non-linear, with numerous flashbacks, this film is extremely well-structured, as it tells the story of three people: an ex-convict who has embraced fundamentalist Christianity with a zealot's devotion, a young woman from an abusive background who befriends the ex-con, a teenager who has experienced the worst kind of abandonment and separation anxiety with far worse to come, and a sheriff narrator, whose cynical attitudes toward God are based on the experiences he reveals.The young woman has a glass eye, the result of a youthful accident. The glass eye, of course, sees nothing, just as the woman herself cannot see the evil descending upon her until too late. And the eye of God -- symbolically made of glass too, also sees absolutely nothing as it allows evil to flourish in God's own name. (I doubt this movie is on Jerry Falwell's Top Ten List, and, if it were, he wouldn't be Jerry Falwell.) The acting by all the principals and the directing are superlative. I hope someday this slice-of-life crime drama will receive the recognition it deserves and be released in a DVD version.This movie is difficult to categorize, but it would make an ideal double bill with the Charles Laughton-directed "The Night of the Hunter," except that in the earlier movie, goodness triumphs. Not so in "The Eye of God.""
Very troubling, and nearly brilliant
L. S. Slaughter | Chapel Hill, NC | 05/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Why this film has gone almost unrecognized baffles me, and this does not bode well as a statement about the filmgoing public. Why this film is out of print is even more unsettling. Tim Blake Nelson's elliptical editing may get in the way of some, but his deft hand with performers and pacing rivals any auteur. The story and screenplay have been sufficiently summarized before me herein. I do not recall a film tackling spiritual ambiguities in such an astonishing fashion since Michael Tolkien's 1991 THE RAPTURE. A dark, troubling slice of Southern Gothic, with a knockout performance by Martha Plimpton, EYE OF GOD will leave you thinking for weeks, maybe months."
Intense... but no shouting
D. Hartley | Seattle, WA USA | 01/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An unsung, minor masterpiece of independent cinema from director Tim Blake Nelson. One of those rare films that mananges to say EXACTLY what it means to say-no more, no less (i.e., no pretension, no padding, no hammy grandstanding). Nelson tells his tale in less than 90 minutes, but the film will haunt you for weeks. The creators of the overblown, overlong and overacted "21 Grams" and "Mystic River" could have gleaned a few lessons from studying Blake's lean yet boundlessly deep screenplay about the dichotomy of good vs evil in us all. Nelson is obviously an "actor's director", and inspires lead actress Martha Plimpton (of the Carridine dynasty) to deliver her most accomplished performance to date as a somewhat dense but sweet small town waitress. Ample support is provided by Kevin Anderson as Plimpton's ex-con husband who has rushed her into marriage after a sight-unseen "pen pal" courtship. Anderson's character has "seen the light" and appears to be on the road to making a solid citizen of himself (then again, appearances can be deceiving). The under-appreciated Richard Jenkins (the father's "ghost" on HBO's "Six Feet Under") is a standout as Anderson's parole officer, as is a very young Nick Stahl (another HBO star-currently the lead character in "Carnivale"). Veteran thespian Hal Holbrook deserves a mention, with one of his better latter-day performances as the world weary sheriff. Lucinda Williams' aching cover version of Nick Drake's "Which Will" opens and closes the film; an interesting choice of music as it works perfectly in both setting the tone for the story and providing a fitting coda to the emotionally devastating final shot. I can't recommend this one enough. I also second the motion with the reviewer who pointed out that the director's commentary on the DVD is atypically insightful and Zen-like (like the screenplay!)."
An elegy for small-town faith
Toney J. Biegalski | Beaumont, Tx | 08/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful study of the face of evil and its impact upon the lives of its characters. The narrative is nonlinear and may be confusing at first if one is not warned, but once a viewer is aware of this he/she should have no difficulty understanding the film. The storyline is initially split and follows two seemingly unrelated characters, which are somehow (at first we don't know) linked through a third subplot involving a small-town sheriff and some crime which has yet to be revealed. One storyline involves a teenage boy who has experienced the worst type of loss and is now emotionally alone in the world. And there is a small-town waitress who has established a relationship with an ex-con over years in a pen-pal program. The waitress has a glass-eye which is a symbolic reference to the movie's title. This glass-eye exists in the world of the inanimate, and the scenes of human despair and sorrow are reflected in and across it without judgment, action, or recourse, as the Eye of God viewing this world exists totally separated of its theater. At the film's end we are reminded of the story of Abraham and Isaac and that the actions of any Judeo-Christian god are very seldom held up to the same standards to which he holds his people. This movie took my breath away and haunted me for days after I initially saw it. It's memory still haunts me.
Director's commentary is extraordinary
Marc Campbell | TAOS, NM United States | 11/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"EYE OF GOD is a wonderfully directed and acted film. But, the real revelation for me is Tim Blake Nelson's commentary track on the DVD. Its a crash course for any film maker who wants to understand both the technique and philosophy of making a movie.
Nelson has a Zen-like clarity in describing how his film was made. Absolutely brilliant."