Eye for an Eye
First things first, how are you about people touching eyeballs, does it make you squirm because if so there is a major "hell no" moment in "Julia's Eyes" which is going to make you duck for cover. But secondly "Julia's Eyes" is a Spanish movie and as I have said before watching movies in a foreign language can be an enlightening experience as it forces you to concentrate more on everything. Unfortunately that is a problem for this movie because whilst it starts well and does a good job of peaking your interest it struggles to keep hold off it as it becomes increasingly contrived. "Julia's Eyes" is still an entertaining movie with some nice ideas built around a murder and a woman losing her sight but in trying to be too clever it goes too far.
Having not seen her blind twin for 6 months Julia (BelÃ©n Rueda) suddenly has a bad feeling and with husband Isaac (LluÃs Homar) rushes to Sarah's (BelÃ©n Rueda) home where they discover her hanging in the basement. Whilst not blind Julia is also suffering some sight loss and it is only a matter of time before she loses it completely which makes her need for answers all the more imperative. But as Julia tries to unravel Sarah's death, believing it to be murder rather than suicide as her husband and police believe she starts to find out things she never knew, things which will change her life for ever and as her sight goes she also finds her having to trust those she can't see.
"Julia's Eyes" starts off quite well as we witness Sarah's death, a scene which sees her ranting at someone neither we or her can see but we see this mysterious person kick the stool out from under her legs. It's a bit of a cheesy cliche that at the same time Julia gets a strange sensation that something has happened but it nicely sets up this mystery where we have Julia trying to discover who killed her sister despite no one seeming to know anything about the man she was seeing. Now initially as this story unravels and Julia discovers something about the man Sarah was seeing it seems outrageous, until you learn who that man was and then it makes sense of a scene we see in which Julia asks a waiter about the man her sister was with. The trouble is that whilst this storyline turns out to be cleverly though out it is also a distraction because it ends up having nothing to do with the main story.
Now that main story comes when Julia loses her sight and is forced to have an operation, leaving her bandaged and pretty much helpless in her sister's home with just a nurse from the medical centre to guide her. The thing is that for all the attempts to try and suggest certain things director Guillem Morales makes one mistake, a styling mistake which automatically tells us who the bad guy is and for all the other suggestions they fail to mislead you. There are some twists to this, a scene with an old man who lives nearby is a bit surprising but it also ends up making it very contrived. And this is where "Julia's Eyes" struggles when watched as a foreign movie, you concentrate so much that when it becomes too contrived you find yourself losing interest. It probably works well if you can understand Spanish because you may miss some of the obvious clues but when you have to concentrate it goes too far.
And that is a shame because "Julia's Eyes" is well acted with BelÃ©n Rueda impressing as Julia, delivering the determination of a sister who wants answers but also the frustration of rapidly failing sight. Yes the character ends up a bit of a nonsense when things become too contrived but even then Rueda has the strength to make these moments entertaining. And without giving anything away the actor who plays the bad guy also does a good job to play him as slightly awkward to give him reasoning despite for the most we never really get to see him properly.
What this all boils down to is that "Julia's Eyes" is an entertaining but also contrived thriller which personally feels drawn out at nearly 2 hours.