Review: Eyes of Laura Mars
Blu-ray: Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)
Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway) is a famous fashion photographer who (unexplainably) develops the ability to ‘see’ through the eyes of someone who is killing people that are close to her. She contacts the police who are at first, understandably, sceptical of her story. She is befriended by detective John Neville (Tommy Lee Jones) who forms a romantic relationship with her while they try to ascertain the identity of the killer. Can they do it before the killer ultimately turns their sights onto Laura?
Directed by Irvin Kershner, with a story and screenplay by John Carpenter, and starring the aforementioned Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, along with Brad Dourif, Rene Auberjonois and Raul Julia, all the pieces are in place for an engrossing mystery thriller. However, there are certain parts of Eyes of Laura Mars that don’t quite sit right with me, the first being the performance by Faye Dunaway. Lauded by many for her part as Laura, I found her to be overly melodramatic, and often overacting so much that I was giggling at her predicament rather than feeling any sort of empathy towards her character and the perilous situation that she was in…all cries of outrage can be sent to our usual email address.
The cast as a whole also didn’t impress me either, with many of them chewing the scenery so hard it’s a wonder the props department didn’t have everything covered in teeth marks. One exception being Tommy Lee Jones, who gives one of his usual contemplative performances whereby each line is thought over before being delivered in a slow deliberate manner.
Brad Dourif is great as a twitchy and barely controlled ex-con working as a driver…who of course is one of the many suspects for who the killer could be, while Rene Auberjonois’ hair should have had its own billing in the credits and he gives a quick impression of Lloyd Bridges that had me rewinding instantly while laughing like mad.
It’s always enlightening rewatching movies that I haven’t seen in many years. I remember not really liking Wolf too much when it was released, yet on re-watching it for our review, I got a hell of a lot more from it. Yet the reverse is applicable for Eyes of Laura Mars; I enjoyed it on VHS when I first watched it back in the 80’s, yet now, despite far better picture quality and sound on this world Blu-ray premiere, it fell relatively flat for me. Like ALL reviews though, this is just the opinion of one person and may very well differ from yours.
If you’re already a fan of the movie, then this is the best version you can get. Picture and sound are great, and the special features are all worth spending the time with. The commentary by Irvin Kirshner is extremely informative and gives you a good appreciation for what is involved in making a movie…especially one where there are numerous location shoots in busy New York.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES:
• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
• Audio commentary with director Irvin Kershner
• The Eyes Have It (2017, 14 mins): an appreciation by critic Kat Ellinger
• Visions (1978, 7 mins): original ‘making of’ documentary
• Eyes on Laura Mars (1999, 8 mins): on-set photography with commentary
• Original theatrical trailer
• David DeCoteau trailer commentary (2013, 4 mins): a short critical appreciation
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Rebecca Nicole Williams, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and historic articles on the film
• World premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Blu-ray Edition of 3,000 copies
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Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.