From the dark vaults of Columbia Pictures comes this strange thriller, making its world premiere on blu-ray courtesy of the excellent folks at UK indie label Indicator. Eyes of Laura Mars, despite being relatively unknown, comes with incredible pedigree in front and behind the camera. Written by John Carpenter, directed by Irvin Kershner (whose next film would be The Empire Strikes Back), and starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, on paper this has all the hallmarks of a 70s classic. Let me be clear….it is not.
Dunaway plays Laura Mars, a zeitgeist defining fashion photographer, whose work stylishly plays with sex and violence. Her life is disrupted by a series of visions, which enable her to see through the eyes of a murderer as he commits his crimes. Crimes that are focused on her circle of friends and colleagues. Will she soon be seeing herself in these visions? Well…yes obviously.
Tommy Lee Jones, managing to look both young and old as fuck at the same time, is the police detective investigating the murders. The supporting cast is rounded out by a number of very recognisable faces, including Brad Dourif, Rene Auberjonois, and Raul Julia.
If you were to dub Eyes of Laura Mars into Italian it would play very much like a classic Giallo murder mystery. Certainly not top drawer Giallo, but Giallo all the same. It has the same lurid 70s production design, melodrama and hints of exploitation that defined those movies. Unfortunately it is not as accomplished as the Italian B-movies to which it aspires, nor is it as interesting to look at, and it certainly isn’t gruesome enough. More pale yellow than Giallo.
It tries desperately to say something about modern society, and the violence our eyes consume on a daily basis, but it doesn’t really succeed. Which wouldn’t matter if the psycho-sexual-thriller part of the film was actually thrilling. But sadly it is not, it’s all rather predictable and pedestrian. Which is a real shame because Faye Dunaway is on excellent over-the-top form. If everyone else in the cast and crew were channelling the B-movie melodrama as well as Dunaway, it would have been a helluva lot more fun.
What really sets Indicator apart from most other home video labels in the UK, is their commitment to making physical media still worth buying. Their limited edition releases are always packed with extras, and this one is no exception. There is an audio commentary with Irvin Kershner. Three short featurettes, including the original making-of from 1978, and a visual essay from critic Kat Ellinger produced exclusively for this release. There is also the original trailer, image galleries from on the set, and an exclusive booklet with a new essay and historical articles on the film.
Cast: Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif, Rene Auberjonois Director: Irvin Kershner Writer: John Carpenter Released By: Indicator Certificate: 15 Duration: 104 mins Release Date: 20th November 2017