Film: 'The Eye'; Cast: Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola, Parker Posey; Director: David Moreau and Xavier Palud; Ratings: 1
'The Eye' sets up a plausible premise and manages to get us hooked in the first hour or so. But as the plot progresses towards a resolution, the thriller directed by the European team of David Moreau and Xavier Palud falls apart and ends with a whimper.
The soggy script with some mediocre acting slowly becomes too noticeable. By the time the plot takes us to Mexico, the viewer becomes apathetic since no connection with the protagonist is established. In this, Jessica Alba fails. She was stunning in 'Sin City' and a treat to look at even in the 'Fantastic Four' instalments.
Many were hoping that in The Eye', Alba would prove her talent. Though she gets some dramatic scenes, it is all too evident that she cannot carry a movie on her own. It will not be surprising if she does not get lead roles any longer.
The supporting cast of Nivola and Parker Posey playing the sister severely disappoint. Posey shone in her small role in 'Superman Returns' playing the villain Lex Luther's accomplice. These two actors literally sleep through their performance realising that the material does not give them absolutely anything to work with.
Alba plays the blind violinist Sydney Wells. She lost her eyesight in childhood and has had a reasonably happy life till she gets a cornea transplant. She soon starts seeing strange things and cannot make sense of these images.
Her doctor Paul Faulkner (Alessandro Nivola) tries to help her, but he has to take a leap of faith if he truly wants to help her. Wells soon realises that her problem has to do with 'cellular memory' where patients receiving organs from donors experience connections with the donors. She then with the help of Faulkner goes to Mexico to find out more about her donor.
The strongest point of the movie is its look. It is stylish, dark and sets the mood perfectly. The director team best shows its craft in framing the scenes. But it doesn't seem to have too much faith in the material. It tries too hard to scare us with sound effects.
The movie also has a sly reference to its obvious kin 'The Sixth Sense'. The directors clearly feel the long shadow that the 'The Sixth Sense' cast on this genre and even with all its gimmicky scares, it never manages to crawl out from that shadow.
The movie plays on the advantages of basing a movie on a hit. It delivers on the scare quotient with frights sprinkled judiciously. Alba, even de-glamourised and de-sexed, manages to shine in those scenes where she is truly terrified.
However, for those looking to be jolted with a few frights, this movie is worth a watch.