Before getting all serious about this movie let me just mention one thing. It might happen that you decide to visit a pub and have a few drinks. After that, you may happen to woo someone and then decide to bring him/her back to your home to have some fun time. In case that person has some proper background, trust me, do not do that. I guess if you’re some kind of a daredevil then please go on but my fantasies about wooing someone with a few one-liners are done after watching this movie. More on this later because the rest of my thoughts on this aspect might be a little philosophical.
So The Eyes of My Mother begins with a seemingly disconnected opening shot of a truck-driver finding a woman walking through the middle of the highway. It almost feels like the opening sequence of Don’t Breathe, but it doesn’t give away any major spoilers. Without trailing on with that, we are brought to a family of a mother, a father and a daughter. The entire story is divided into three parts. Chapter 1 is named Mother, chapter 2 is named Father and chapter 3 is named Family.
I will only talk about the first chapter so that I do not stray into spoiler territory. So, in the first chapter the family gets attacked by a man who might be a serial killer. This begins the downward spiral of the girl and the world around her. I think the first question that might come to your mind is that, why are the chapters divided in that way? All I can say is that it is heavily related to some pretty gruesome events.
On a technical level, this movie is one of the finest pieces of film-making in the 21st Century. I am surprised that nobody talked about this movie. By nobody I mean the reviewers whose movie reviews I usually watch. I think they can nitpick the technical nuances much better than I am about to. The most unique and unexpected aspect of this movie is that it is entirely shot in black and white. I say it’s unexpected because I hadn’t watched the trailer and I watched it on the basis of the ratings. I have a few things to say about the ratings though, but later. The choice of making the movie in black and white serves two very impactful purposes. The first is that it instantly transcends us to a time that is not in the near past. That could have easily been attained by the costume design and set design, and they do but Nicolas Pesce(director and writer) decided to go a step further. The second effect that the choice of black and white is disconnect. It disconnected me from the characters in a very odd way. It gave me the feeling that these people are from another era and that feeling of disconnect actually added to the feeling of horror.
Pesce further adds on to the feeling of disconnect by not lingering on the faces of the characters in the movie. There are no or very little close-ups of the characters and that’s why I felt distanced from these characters. The only person who gets a close-up shot of his expression was the serial killer and that serves a purpose later on in the movie. It is a very well thought out movie as to how it should be shot and how every shot should serve a purpose in the progression of the plot.
Another very interesting aspect of the movie that I absolutely loved was the escalation of violence. In the beginning the cutaways from a scene of violence is very early. That helps in achieving a level of mystery as to what actually happened. Gradually the scenes start to run for a longer period of time and I am sure you’ll wish that the movie cuts away quicker. The editing is very fine and makes the movie feel almost seamless. The cinematography is just gorgeous and uses static shots to intrigue the viewer as to what they are trying to show. It felt like the director is trying to engage me and pull me into the plot before providing me with another shocking revelation. Also, the pacing of the movie is very reminiscent of The Witch. Even if the movie has a run-time of 77 minutes, it feels like you were with Francisca for a long time and that adds on to the creepiness of the setup.
There are only a handful of actors and actresses in this movie and all of them are pretty amazing. After seeing the run-time and the genre, I was honestly a bit sceptical about how the performances are going to be but I was pretty surprised. Kika Maghalhaes is easily the pick of the lot. She gives an absolutely bone-chilling performance. If she ever wants to get married, I’ll personally suggest her to not let her fiance watch this performance of hers. It’s scary but there is also a sense of vulnerability in her character. Every character in this movie is a mixed bag. You don’t have anyone to root for because if you do, you’re gonna regret doing so. The only thing you can wish for is that you don’t meet characters like these in real life, ever.
Okay, so now about the thing which I was talking about in the first paragraph. The reason I was telling to not partake in such adventurous activities is not because I am a conservative person. It’s because I believe in a theory and please bear with me.The way science is advancing, there is very little that we don’t know. There are very little aspects of life, very less places on Earth that are uncharted and that is why we are becoming more and more aware about our surroundings. The most profound effect that is having is that we are reducing our sense of mystery and fear. But, the only thing that science hasn’t been able to fully understand is the human mind and the complexity of the human brain and that really scares me. Especially after I watch movies like this. Each and every brain is so unique in it’s own way that you can’t really expect the same thing or the desired thing from every person you meet down the road. So, until science finds a way to map the psychology of an unknown person, just be careful.
FINAL VERDICT – I am actually surprised that this movie has such a low rating on Imdb but has a considerably appropriate rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The reason is beyond me that why such a masterpiece has such a low rating. This should have received at least an Oscar nomination for editing or cinematography or sound-design. Well, nothing can be done about that now. The thing that should be done is that you should definitely, positively check this movie out. It’s a riveting horror movie and one for the collection. If you’re faint-hearted then please proceed with caution.
Thanks for reading.