Film #235: EYES OF CRYSTAL aka OCCHI DI CRISTALLO
Eyes of Crystal (aka Occhi di Cristallo)
3.5 out of 5 stars
Many have tried to reinvent the giallo sub-genre, but few have succeeded. I mean, even someone who’s name is synonymous with the genre – I’m talking to you, Dario Argento - has failed time and time again to gain any traction. So, I went into this 2004 Italian production with a lot of trepidation. Happily, director Eros Puglielli manages to pull off what many before him haven’t by making a well shot, well-acted crime thriller with just the right amount of perversion and bloodletting. EYES OF CRYSTAL is VERY similar to the gialli of old, but with a modern sensibility (by that I mean, the echoes of modern crime thrillers like SE7EN and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS resound unmistakably throughout). The film’s runtime at 114 minutes is a tad long and there are definite stalls in the narrative, but when the film is firing on all cylinders, it’s a refreshing return to a style of filmmaking I love. Yes, there is far too much time spent developing the love interest. Yes, there are whole chunks that could’ve easily been excised from the plot. And yes, the last 4 or 5 minutes are on the dopey side with their blatant greenscreen and ridiculous lack of understanding of ballistics and bullet penetration. But still… when directors who should know better (like Argento) are screwing up this great genre, viewers should look to a film like EYES OF CRYSTAL and be happy for the overwhelming good that’s there and not the minor missteps. An engaging plot, solid direction, some beautiful set-pieces, and a well-chosen cast make EYES OF CRYSTAL definitely worth the rental.