Blind fate

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH

JU­LIA’S EYES ( MA15+) ★★★■ Di­rec­tor: Guillem Mo­rales ( The Un­cer­tain Guest) Stars: Be­len Rueda, Lluis Ho­mar, Pablo Derqui, Francesc Orella See­ing is de­ceiv­ing

WHILE the name of Guillermo Del Toro ( Pan’s Labyrinth) is to the fore of pro­duc­tion cred­its for Ju­lia’s Eyes, this solid Span­ish thriller is clearly in thrall to the works of the great Al­fred Hitch­cock.

Noth­ing wrong with wear­ing a clas­sic in­flu­ence on your sleeve, but surely Hitch­cock would have ex­erted a tighter grip on the edit­ing.

Even the most ar­dent ad­mirer would freely ad­mit there’s a clear half-hour of pad­ding that should have hit the cut­ting-room floor.

Be­len Rueda ( from the ex­cel­lent 2007 spooker The Or­phan­age) has the lead role of Ju­lia, a woman in her 30s who is slowly go­ing blind be­cause of a de­gen­er­a­tive con­di­tion.

Ju­lia’s twin sis­ter, Sara ( also played by Rueda, pic­tured), was also struck with the same ill­ness, which ex­acted such a heavy psy­cho­log­i­cal toll she took her own life af­ter a last-ditch op­er­a­tion failed. Or so the story goes.

Ju­lia re­fuses to con­cede her iden­ti­cal sib­ling would have killed her­self.

With her own sight be­gin­ning to fade, she starts to in­ves­ti­gate an inkling that Sara’s death might be linked to a mys­te­ri­ous stalker-like fig­ure.

Writer-di­rec­tor Guillem Mo­rales cre­ates an ever-dread­ful at­mos­phere, jan­gling the nerves of view­ers at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.

Per­haps he does ring the false-alarm bells at least twice too of­ten as Ju­lia’s Eyes stum­bles aim­lessly into its gen­er­ously paced fi­nal act.

The an­chor­ing per­for­mance of Rueda is what keeps this sec­ond-hand ma­te­rial fresh and force­fully in­volv­ing.

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