HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Benediction
Nezha Reborn
Evil Toons
Worst Person in the World, The
Whirlpool
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
Knockabout
400 Blows, The
Virus: 32
Studio 666
Great Movement, The
Lost in La Mancha
Cellar, The
Sacred Spirit, The
   
 
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence 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 2476 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: