Short Eyes Reviews

Page 1 of 2
May 29, 2014
Slightly stagy adaptation still packs quite a wallop.
½ October 6, 2012
Thirty-five years on, this story still hold great relevance. One of the more thought provoking films I've seen in awhile.
January 8, 2012
I became a professional degenerate.

An accused child molester is locked in prison with hardened prisoners. Initially, he does a great job of avoiding conflict and staying unnoticed; however, when he confides in one prisoner, and his story becomes known, it will be harder and harder for him to avoid interactions with other inmates.

"Jesus help me!"
"Because man won't."

Robert Young, director of Roosters, Human Error, Rich Kids, Saving Grace, and JT, delivers Short Eyes. The storyline for this picture is very intense and well written. I was thoroughly impressed by the characters (which reminded me slightly of The Warriors). The ultimate resolve was brilliant and the acting was amazing. The cast includes Bruce Davison, Jose Perez, Nathan George, and Luis Guzman.

"You need help."
"I'm afraid to find it."

Short Eyes was a movie my wife discovered while flicking through the channels and DVR'd based on its potential. I found this movie fascinating and well delivered. The end is brilliant and a perfect turn of events for this wonderful character study. This is not your average prison drama and is definitely worth your time. I strongly recommend this picture.

"I give less than a fuck."

Grade: A
½ September 19, 2011
This movie is not for everybody ;you have to be open minded and ready to see pedophilia ,homosexuality ,violence and cruelty .Although its gets funny its also intellectual and at moments very poetical. Only For philosophers and sophistacated people . Squares and immatures get the hell away from this movie ;its not for u .
August 8, 2011
an unusual, bleak but compelling film based on a play and feels like it....but packs a punch with the realism of prison brutality, mainly with the scenes involving the character of the child molester
May 7, 2010
A hidden gem from the late 70s, this superbly acted, well-shot, and sensitively written film is a must-see for anybody who believes they can stomach it. With a cast of mostly quasi-knowns, the low-budget Short Eyes is a remarkable slice of prison life, coming directly from a man who lived it (and who wrote and performed the play during his term).

While it's undoubtedly brutal (one of the most brutal you'll likely see), there is actually relatively little violence compared to, say, a gangster movie, or a Coen brother's picture, with there being true bloodshed only at the very end in this case. At the same time, the mood feels darker (and more desperate) than other films that positively drip with blood, because the motives behind the violence feel so human and real. The violence is senseless, but from watching the characters develop and interact you can understand what has led up to this violence, and this need the prisoners have to seize power in a powerless situation.

In Short Eyes Bruce Davison plays a meek white prisoner, husband and father, with a strong history of molesting children. Davison plays him beautifully in a way that makes you half want to hug him, half want to punch him. This is because Clark literally cannot help himself from being the way he is, and yet, as he says, his fear of losing everything that anchors him in life keeps him from preventing further violations against little girls. He isn't excused from what he's done, and yet you could understand how many people in his circumstances would do what he did. This is uncommonly good writing for a low budget '70s prison drama.

The character of Juan, played by Jose Perez (a seasoned character actor in and out of television but otherwise not known very well), is also excellent as a reluctant go-to for Clark, a comparatively down-to-earth prisoner, who is also able to hold his own in a one-on-one. The entire scene in which Clark opens up to Juan should have been enough to earn both of them at least nominations for Oscars; Clark and his sort of fascination with his own past actions, his unconcealed self-loathing. He's then played off nicely by Juan, a sick fury clearly building up inside him all the time he's listening, but carefully held back because of his desire to protect this man from the other prisoners. It is a very moving scene that you hold your breath through the entire time, like a horrific car crash that you can't look away from.

Short Eyes is also one of the better play-to-screen adaptations I've seen- although I don't doubt that much of the dialouge isn't altered, it all translates well for this film, the direction of the photography understated and wise. Nor is there much chewing of the scenery by the actors, the sort of acting trend a movie with a premise like this might attract. All of the performances are so natural and sharp you would believe them to be of real people, pulled out of a New York '70s detention center to play their parts for a quick dollar.

The film does fall victim to a few 70s cliches- the very "hip" score, for one, or the dancing scene around the beginning of the film or the passing transvestites who seemed to have little to do with the plot at all. But these products of the era are never applied so thickly that it makes you cringe to watch, and they do help you get a feel for the environment and time the play was written (the early '70s as opposed to late, as it were).

All in all, I'm of the opinion that it's a crime (no pun intended) that this movie is as unknown as it is. Because even with its highly unpleasant subect matter, again I say that the underlying causes of the unpleasantness are meaningful and real. Short Eyes is available on youtube in full, and I would highly recommend it to you even if you aren't a fan of Miguel Pinero, the genre, or prison films. Peace.
½ December 25, 2009
Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Films chose this film to be their contribution to the world of cinema. Based on the award winning play, it is a look inside prison life of the 70's in a hardcore New York.
½ February 14, 2007
A brutal film, unpleasant drama about prison life for a child molester. The acting is terrific, the claustrophobic setting intensifies the film. Believably done, sadly realistic.
½ October 20, 2006
Here's another film rating.
July 12, 2005
[b]Short Eyes[/b] - A "short eyes" in prison parlance is a child molestor and even among the social pariahs, child molestors are persona non grata. One of these short eyes arrives at the New York prison where this allegorical screen-adapted play is set. This film is proud of its stage heritage, as it includes a couple of impromtu songs and a number of speech-like dialogue. Such stage conventions can seem clumsy in a film, but director Robert Young and his collaborative team do a good job to add a level of lyricism to the film. When taking on a subject as grim as this, one can see why. The film's insight is in the microcosm of the larger society that it creates in the prison, where race and sex relations are dominated by power struggles. The ultimate conflict in the film is to what extent the characters are willing to give up their humanity in prison. The movie suggests that this may not be all that much of a conflict given the similarities of prison life to the larger world.

[b]Husbands and Wives[/b] - Woody Allen. Need I say more? Woody plays Woody Allen in a story about relationships all brought to life through witty dialogue that is cynical, ironic, and touching; acted by a capable ensemble. The details hardly matter.

[b]Caresses[/b] - I'm a sucker for foreign movies. This one's Spanish, I think, and offers vignettes of half a dozen coincidentally related couples whose relationships take all forms (heterosexual, homosexual, father/son, brother/sister, etc). It's not exceptional, but it's always interesting.

[b]Maurice[/b] - Wonderful film, this. Director James Ivory adapts this E.M. Forster novel of an early 19th Century man's struggle with his sexual identity. The script lays out the story of a middle class Londoner's (James Wimby) coming of age in Cambridge and falling into love with a upperclass contemporary, played by Hugh Grant. The movie is touching, well written, beautifully shot, and well acted.

[b]The Last Picture Show[/b] - One of the best films that I've ever seen. I need to find room for this on my Top Ten list. Peter Bogdanovich's film about the sexual mores in a small Texas town is hauntingly bittersweet. The impressive ensemble cast, including Ellen Burstyn, Cybill Shepard and Jeff Bridges, become their characters. And what characters!!! They inhabit a slow town, where sexual deviance lies barely hidden below the surface. Bogdanovich's main achievement is aesthetic: the black and white enhances the starkness of the dry landscape and the silence (there's no score) only adds to that.
Page 1 of 2