The Eye
Jian gui
review by Carrie Gorringe, 20 June 2003

Seattle International Film Festival 2003

In the Chinese thriller The Eye, a young blind woman named Mun learns the real meaning of second sight.  As soon as the bandages are removed from her eyes following a cornea transplant, Mun notices strange apparitions floating around, some of them extremely aggressive.  One in particular is most troubling:  a slight, elegant young man, dressed all in black, who seems to be leading the others around in a modern update of the Grim Reaper;  every time he appears, Mun soon learns, it means that someone has just died.  In addition, the furniture in her room changes appearance without warning, as if a demented set designer had the ability to change her world at will.  Alarmed by these visions, Mun goes to her psychotherapist for help in understanding them.  Conveniently, her therapist is also the nephew of the doctor who performed her implants.  Will the doctor be able or willing to violate the confidentiality of the donor's identity in order to provide Mun with the answers she seeks?  It doesn't help matters much that no one really wants to believe what she is seeing, and with good reason:  in Chinese culture (as in Western culture), there is a fear of someone who has not died a so-called "good death";  their spirits (called "hungry ghosts")  are presumed to have unfinished business and will haunt and/or threaten the living until someone helps them deal with these issues.  

Brothers/co-directors/co-screenwriters Danny and Oxide Pang manage to keep the mix of the everyday and the fantastic in nimble play up to the film's end.  Just when you think everything has settled into a familiar routine, the Pangs shake things up in an inferno of a finale.  The film doesn't have a completely satisfying ending;  the coda soft-pedals its final moments somewhat ineffectually, but the chills they've provided beforehand are more than sufficient consolation.  You may want to watch your back the next time you go for a long ride on an escalator.  Moreover, since Tom Cruise's company has snapped up the remake rights, you might want to familiarize yourself with the original.


Seattle International Film Festival:

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Directed by:
Oxide Pang Chun
Danny Pang

Starring:
Angelica Lee
Lawrence Chou
Chutcha Rujinanon
Yut Lai So
Candy Lo
Yin Ping Ko
Pierre Png
Edmund Chen
Wai-Ho Yung
Wilson Yip

Written by:
Jo Jo Yuet-chun Hui
Oxide Pang Chun
Danny Pang

Rated:
NR - Not Rated.
This film has not
been rated.

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