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Take My Eyes

By G. Brian Davis | Posted 4/23/2008

The Spanish movie from writer/director Icíar Bollaín is exactly what Americans expect to see in "lofty" foreign flicks. Pilar (Laia Marull) leaves her abusive husband, Antonio (Luis Tosar), then goes back, then leaves again, and that's, well, it. But beneath Take My Eyes' simple story is a dazzlingly complex portrait of human nature, as initially likable and unlikable characters alike take on troublingly real dimensions, and the blacks and whites fade to an uncomfortable middle gray. It's a story about insecurity, rage, and love, but most of all it's a story about identity and the terrible consequences of not knowing your own. Antonio would be easy to hate until you see his desperate struggle to understand and overcome his powerful emotions. Pilar's sister Ana (Candela Peña) would be easy to love, until you see her instinct to avoid discomfort at any cost. In eschewing these easier paths, Take My Eyes feels compellingly authentic, unafraid to pull up the blinds and reveal the harsh light of reality. Thin on plot, heavy on theme, and rich in craft over style, it is, for better or worse, the anti-Hollywood movie.

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