Manhattan janitor Daryll Deever is fixated on hard-charging TV commentator, Tony Sokolow; he tapes her commentary daily to watch after work. When a wealthy Vietnamese man, with many shady connections, is murdered in the o... more »ffice building where Daryll works, Tony shows up to cover the story and Daryll introduce himself. She thinks he may know something, so she pursues him; he pretends he might to keep her interested. This romantic cat and mouse game goes on under the watchful eyes of the killers, who think that Daryll and Tony do know something. The killers start their own game of cat and mouse« less
"This 1981 film directed by Peter Yates is well worth spending a couple of hours watching. The cast is outstanding: William Hurt as a night janitor, Sigourney Weaver as a TV reporter, Christopher Plummer as her fiancee and smuggler of Jews out of the Soviet Union, James Woods as a Vietnam vet screw-up, Morgan Freeman as a New York City cop with an afro et al. Oh, and we cannot forget Hurt's doberman Ralph who gives quite a performance as well.
The story works on several levels. On the surface it's a murder mystery. (Hurt as Daryll Deever doesn't know as much about the murder as several people think, much to his danger. It is also a male Cinderella love story as Hurt has been besotted with Weaver (Tony Skolow) for sometime, so much so that he sets the timer on his VCR to catch her covering local New York City news. His obsession with Weaver gets him into real trouble as he pretends to know more about the death of a much despised Vietnamese businessman in his building where he works as a janitor in order to get close to her. Finally there is the story-line with serious ramifications: how far should a person go and to what ends-- even to killing an innocent man-- to accomplish his most worthy goal, the smuggling of other innocents out of a dictatorial state.
If you are a fan of any of these actors or you like a film that is more than a superficial mystery, this film is for you."
Terrific Performances in Flat Thriller...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 08/20/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The improbable brings to mind what cannot be achieved, and when it happens it often presents a fantasy. On occasion, implausible events take place and when they do unusual things happen. They also bring together people that would never have encountered one another, unless the unbelievable occurrence would have taken place. Eyewitness presents such an experience through Daryll Deever (William Hurt), a Vietnam War veteran who has sought the job as a janitor for the purpose of solitude.
On a late night, when Daryll has finished his work for the night he hears strange sounds coming from one of the more secure offices. The office belongs to a Vietnamese businessman whom has fired Daryll's best friend and future brother-in-law Aldo Mercer (James Woods) some days earlier. When Daryll enters the office he finds the businessman murdered. From the opening until this moment the film presents several motives for many different people to be the prime suspects for the murder. When Lt. Black (Morgan Freeman) and Lt. Jacobs (Steven Hill) begin the investigation no clear clues emerge that would help them find the murderer.
The implausible happens when Daryll meets Tony Sokolow (Sigourney Weaver), an upper-class woman with strong motivation to succeed as a television journalist. In addition, Daryll has an obsession for Tony, as he tapes all her appearances on television on his VCR. Daryll discovers that Tony is on the case and presents himself as an eyewitness in order to get closer to Tony. However, several individuals notice this move by Daryll, and it is only a question of time until someone will get to him. Yet, Daryll is willing to take this risk to get to know Tony, as he wants to charm Tony to fall for him. However, she is married to Joseph (Christopher Plummer) who frequently leaves the country through his political work, as he tries to smuggle Jewish people out of the Soviet Union.
Eyewitness tries to present a suspenseful Cinderella story where a janitor falls for a rich and successful woman. Regrettably, the film provides more intricate details, which on occasion, make the film feel a little confusing. In addition, the film tries to create suspense by not telling certain details, which are essential for the audience to understand where the film is going, and this too is puzzling. However, Eyewitness displays several strong performances by a wide range of talents such as Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, James Woods, Morgan Freeman and Christopher Plummer. The actors save the cinematic experience, as they bring along something intriguing to watch, as the story as a whole will leave the audience bewildered."
"The Janitor Doesn't Dance"
The JuRK | Our Vast, Cultural Desert | 03/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"("The Janitor Doesn't Dance" was the working title of this film during production).
Sigourney Weaver's previous film was ALIEN and William Hurt's was ALTERED STATES so I was excited to see them together in EYEWITNESS. They work well together and I liked the premise of a Vietnam Vet janitor pretending to know more than he does about a murder in order to get close to a reporter looking for a scoop.
One of the cool things about this film is that nearly every character has a personal storyline. If the script had more momentum for its finale, I would've given it five stars but I did enjoy how characters felt like fully-realized people. This is a murder mystery populated with genuine characters so it feels loose and realistic.
If you enjoy the actors, definitely check this one out."
Murder, Well Acted And With Some Ethical Questions
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 07/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When Daryl Deever (William Hurt) tells TV reporter Tony Sokolow (Sigourney Weaver) he knows more than he actually does about a murder in the building where he works as a janitor, he gets more than he bargained for. Deever is a good guy, smart enough but ambitious only on his own terms. He's sort of engaged to his best friend's sister, but he's had a crush on Sokolow for two years. When the man in the building gets his throat slit, Sokolow is one of the reporters on the scene. Deever sees a perfect chance to get to meet her, so he tells her he may know something. She goes after the story and he goes after her. Sokolow is not quite engaged to a dedicated, capable man known as Joseph (Christopher Plummer), who is good friends with Sokolow's parents. It becomes clear that her wealthy parents, their rich friends and Joseph are engaged in the shadowy business of buying illegal ways for Jews to escape from the Soviet Union and to journey to Israel. And it appears that the man killed may have had an involvement, too. Before long, the man's associates learn of Deever's gambit with Sokolow and go after them to find out who was behind the killing. More lethally, the real murderer learns of what Deever said to Sokolow and believes Deever might actually know something. He goes after Deever.
This is a tight, well constructed murder mystery with two first-rate components. First is the romance which builds between the characters played by Hurt and Weaver. These two people are attractive and smart. Hurt, in particular, comes across as guileless but he's no one's patsy. The two are very likable. Second, the situation which develops poses some ethical questions. Grades of gray come into play; it wouldn't be accurate to say that the murderer is simply another bad guy.
The movie also features some first-rate actors besides Hurt and Weaver. There's Christopher Plummer who, as usual, brings so much assurance and nuance to his role; James Woods as the best friend, always a little off balance; Pamela Reed as Woods' sister; her mutual declaration of non-love with Hurt is very funny and appealing; Steven Hill and Morgan Freeman as the two cops assigned to the case; Kenneth McMillan as Hurt's father, angry and vulnerable; and Irene Worth and Albert Paulsen as Weaver's parents, people who love her but, especially the mother, always put responsibilities and obligations into the love. They all are very good.
I like this movie a lot. The DVD picture looks fine. There are no extras to speak of."
Great Underrated Gem!!
The JuRK | 05/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sigourney Weaver,William Hurt and James Woods rule in this great underrated gem.It's well worth watching!!"