When her daughter’s murderer is set free thanks to a technicality, a grieving mother (Sally Field, Norma Rae) decides to do something to correct this miscarriage of justice. Frustrated and disappointed with the judicial system, she decides to take the law in her own hands, triggering a chain of unexpected and devastating events.
Reaction & Thoughts:
Eye for an Eye, written by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa, directed by John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy and Marathon Man), is a by-the-numbers thriller that unfortunately chooses to trivialize the very serious problem of crime and its consequences and repercussions.
Field stars as a mother who is desperate to find a way to cope with the murder of her daughter at the hands of a vicious thug (Kiefer Sutherland, The Lost Boys). Field is a competent actress, but she alone cannot bring conviction to this slick, but empty-headed suspense drama. The movie asks her to go from civilized, devoted mother and wife to bitter and avenging parent in a very unconvincing manner.
The script is also too superficial, lacking the logical development that would have helped the main character gain the audiences’ sympathy — what could have been a provocative and insightful character study about a grieving mother dealing with the loss of a child becomes a silly and predictable film.
Eye for an Eye is no more than a rehash of a much better film — Charles Bronson’s 1974 thriller Death Wish. Unlike the Bronson movie, Eye for an Eye not only fails to generate any genuinely suspense, but, more importantly, the movie misses the opportunity of presenting the complexities that derive from a citizen taking the law into his or her own hands, creating not a solution but another problem. Field tries hard, but she mainly comes across as “Bronson-in-skirt.” If you want to see this sort of story done properly, go and rent the aforementioned Bronson film or In the Bedroom, starring Sissy Spacek.
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
Eye for an Eye failed to impress audiences back in 1996, and I doubt the movie would fair any better twenty years later — despite the great talent behind both sides of the camera, Eye for an Eye is still a pretty ordinary film. Color, 101 minutes, Rated R.