Movie Review: Eye for an Eye (1996)

“What do you do when justice fails?”

1 Stars
Eye for an Eye (1996)

Eye for an Eye (1996) 


Director: John Schlesinger

Cast: Sally Field, Kiefer Sutherland, Ed Harris

Synopsis: A woman seeks revenge against the man who raped and murdered her daughter when the justice system fails her.

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In many ways, Eye for an Eye is a fairly bland thriller that is largely indistinguishable from other vigilante-style movies.   But while it plays at times like a cheaply made TV movie, it contains a couple of attacks on women which are quite shocking in their intensity and completely at odds with the rest of the film.   Sally Field (The Amazing Spider-Man, Lincoln) plays Karen McCann, a typically upper-middle class working mother whose teenage daughter is brutally raped and murdered by ultra-sleazy deliveryman Robert Doob (Kiefer Sutherland – Young Guns, Zoolander 2).   When the American justice system lets him free on a technicality, Field resolves to take the law into her own hands.

Eye for an Eye is basically just a variation on Death Wish, with the added frisson that the vigilante is physically the weaker party and therefore just as likely to become a victim of her target as the other way around.   Field is pretty good in the role, as is Sutherland as her nemesis, even though he is portrayed as pure evil with no redeeming – or human – qualities to speak of.   The guy can’t even sit down without pouring his coffee over a passing dog.   Given that, away from his battle with Field, Sutherland isn’t given much to play with beyond a couple of scenes which provide no insight into his character – in one he’s threatened by frustrated cop Joe Mantegna, and in the other he plays frenetic drums on his legs as he watches a video in his grubby hotel room – he makes quite an impression, proving he’s as adept at playing irredeemable bad guys as he is clean cut heroes of the Jack Bauer variety.

Ed Harris (The Abyss, Pain & Gain) plays Field’s understanding but long-suffering husband, and he’s about as emasculated as a man can be in a movie.   Never really knowing what’s going on, regularly catching on a couple of scenes too late, he’s effortlessly sent trotting off to the mountains by Field when she wants him out of the way so that she can put her revenge plan into action.   I’m not sure I’d have been as understanding as him in that final scene, and it kind of makes you wonder what Harris saw in the role…

(Reviewed 4th November 2011)





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