HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
Slithis
Antonio Gaudi
   
 
Newest Articles
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
   
 
  Eyewitness A Stalker's Dream Come True
Year: 1981
Director: Peter Yates
Stars: William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Plummer, James Woods, Irene Worth, Kenneth McMillan, Pamela Reed, Albert Paulsen, Steven Hill, Morgan Freeman, Alice Drummond, Sharon Chatten, Chao Li Chi, Keone Young, Dennis Sakamoto
Genre: Drama, Thriller, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Daryll Deever (William Hurt) is a humble janitor in a New York City corporate office block owned by a Vietnamese company, and he feels neglected when he tries to take a grievance to one of the bosses one evening as he cleans up only to be fobbed off with vague words of reassurance. He returns to his basement and sets about emptying all the waste paper he has collected into the compactor, but his mind is elsewhere, specifically on his favourite television news reporter Tony Sokolow (Sigourney Weaver) who once he returns to his apartment later on he watches on the videotape of the ten o'clock news that he recorded earlier. His only friends are the fearsome dog he keeps as a pet, and Aldo (James Woods) - but one of them may be serious trouble.

Director Peter Yates and writer Steve Tesich particularly wanted to work with one another after the success of their cycling drama Breaking Away which has been very well regarded and generated a fairly significant following, but Eyewitness was not set to be a repeat performance. For a start, Tesich could not get the script, based on experiences of one of his previous jobs, right until Yates suggested he adapt another script to it and the combination would make for a truly unusual entertainment. However, the studio had cold feet and demanded a title change from The Janitor to Eyewitness when it failed in the British release under the original name, whereupon it promptly flopped around the world no matter what it was called.

There were some who have kind words to offer for their efforts, but in the main the results were awkward in the production and damned awkward to watch on the screen, with characters swimming in and out of the plot supplying scenes that in far too many cases did not contribute anything of use to the thriller plot. This was one of those turn of the seventies into the eighties suspense pieces that were influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, specifically his interest in voyeurism and the mistaken perception that can arise from the practice, but there was a difference here in that the Vietnam veteran hero Daryll, behaved more like the villain, or if he was not wholly committed to menace, then his actions could have been those of a psychopath with a few narrative tweaks.

For a start, Eyewitness was more than questionable, it was downright bizarre and Yates' restrained handling of the mood did little to conceal the preposterousness of what we were asked to watch. You could swallow the notion that Daryll would do anything to get close to Tony, but when he stumbles upon a murder at the offices and the media take an interest, would she really have gone to those lengths to get close to him? Romances depicted between stalkers and their victims are not often shown on the screen for a good reason, because even if it was possible in real life the message that was sending was dubious at the very least, highly irresponsible at worst, yet here we were with the creepy janitor, who we are supposed to find endearing, all lovey-dovey with the object of his obsession, and that was reciprocated with unpleasant obliviousness as to what it was saying.

To add to the perversity, we were asked to believe Tony was linked to this murder herself through a Jewish underground which sneaks their dissidents out of Communist states, something organised by her boyfriend Christopher Plummer. You can tell this was not operating in a sensible realm, yet nothing in the approach, be that acting or direction, hinted that they were anything but sincere in serving up this weirdness posing as a dramatic thriller which only rendered such random elements as that dog trained to attack Daryll when he enters his home until he can pacify the ferocious beast all the more baffling. It featured a hell of a cast, not only newly minted stars Hurt and Weaver but up and comers like Pamela Reed, Morgan Freeman and (especially looking to be on the road to bigger things) James Woods, but even they were more or less essaying red herrings no matter their own off the wall actions (Aldo tries to crush Daryll in the compactor, then waves his attempted murder away seconds later). Sometimes a film this wrongheaded can have a certain compelling nature in the watching, but Eyewitness, while looking nice, did not. Music by Stanley Silverman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1306 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Peter Yates  (1929 - 2011)

British director with some range, originally from theatre and television. After Summer Holiday and Robbery, he moved to Hollywood to direct Bullitt, with its car chase making waves. There followed The Hot Rock, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Mother, Jugs & Speed, The Deep and touching teen drama Breaking Away before he returned to Britain for the fantasy Krull and The Dresser. Spent most of his final years working back in America.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: