Café at the End of the World
Eye of the Beholder
Review by Ross Anthony

Moving at the pace of blood through the veins, "Beholder" has the power to alter time, making an hour forty-five seem like three. I polled a few folks as they left the theater, more than half shaking their heads while sporting sourpusses. And although I can't say I liked the film myself, there's still something hypnotizingly alluring here.

A clean cut Ewan McGregor aims a multi-scoped rifle out the window at the bare butt of a soon to be embarrassed executive. The rifle's trigger snaps photos. McGregor is a high tech investigator, performing 100% of his job from behind computer-networked cameras and microphones. He's a loner save for the apparition of his dancingly playful 7-year-old daughter who appears in the passenger seat of a stakeout, and then on the video skipping carelessly next to the subject while talking to her dad through the camera. It's a wonderfully eerie setup that could have enhanced a good plot with a dose of hearty enchantment -- were there a good plot to be enhanced.

Apparently, McGregor had been separated from his wife and daughter (this is never explained clearly), leaving him just a few cards short of a full deck. Of course, his work is effected; K.D. Lang plays the base station secretary that keeps him in play. Into this picture strolls a hardened Ashley Judd who takes to her shark-toothed role with honesty and conviction. McGregor, initially hired to check Judd out as a potential thief, comes to believe that she is his daughter and follows this man-killer from victim to victim. It's a game of obsession, spy, kill and chase, from Chicago to Alaska where the movie ends without payoff, dare I say, devoid of point.

However, there's some great mood sequences. The camera omniscient hovers over a dividing wall between bathrooms of adjoining hotel rooms as a dangerously seductive Judd slips into a foamy tub, the obsessed voyeur McGregor in the tub on the other side of green tiled wall leans his hand and cheek against it. The song he had sung to his daughter, "Bluebirds," chirps melodically. A very very sweet scene, perfectly on the mark; and there were others too, enough to keep my interest, but not enough to make up for lack of story.

One last note, in an isolated sequence bad boy Jason Priestly surges onto the screen. He's outstanding with the spirit of a "Fight Club" Brad Pitt.

  • Eye of the Beholder. Copyright © 2000. Rated R.
  • Starring Ewan McGregor, Ashley Judd, K.D. Lang, Jason Priestly.
  • Written and Directed by Stephen Elliot.
  • Produced by Al Clark, Tony Smith, and Nicolas Clermont.
  • Destination/Behaviour/Hitrun.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:12:06 PDT