White of the Eye - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

White of the Eye Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 30, 2015
Compared favorably to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, White of the Eye actually departs from that time-honored template with a more scandalous character study. The quasi-spiritual opening of an Arizona hawk in flight weirdly glazes the film with a red-blooded Americana feel. This was produced under the Cannon Films label and automatically the notion of a kamikaze bloodbath flashes before the viewers. Expectations aren't dissuaded during a fashion model's assault in her kitchen. It's par for the course except the voyeuristic close-ups of a crazed eyeball darting around. It's an effectively hellacious shot selection. David Keith is brilliant as Paul White whose untoward talent is echolocation like "there is a tuning fork in [his] sinuses". It's a niche trait but it also substantiates that White isn't bordering on normalcy. White is not antisocial. He is a blue-collar sound installation man with a family which might be more galvanizing when he is aroused by predatory hunting. The crown jewel is Paul ranting his ethos about being "chosen" to eradicate the "misery" of women and the female "black hole" in the universe. The 70's flashbacks are retro-corny with bouffant hairstyles, tape decks and hippie attitudes. The surreal camera angles are avant-garde (a Fritz Lang exchange about cookie between Paul and his daughter) but the real culprit is pointless dawdling. An introspective expose on the tightrope act of a moonlighting serial killer would've been a fruitful area. Instead Donald Cammell squanders the opportunity on frivolous subplots around Paul's supposedly extramarital affair and Joan's (Cathy Moriarty) splintered relationship with Mike (Alan Rosenberg). By the point where Keith is stalking his prey with Apache war paint, it is too foolish to be taken seriously anymore.
½ September 20, 2014
'Now it turns. Now it is looking at her. The Apaches had a name for it. White of the Eye'... Stunning thriller by Cammell, a visual and surreal mind trip--A must-see for fans of cult oddities. The sound track is pure Floyd... Desert Madness!!
July 14, 2014
Bizarre, one of a kind 80's movie that im having a hard time labelling or pegging down, though it has elements of all three, it's just too out there and weird to be simply called a slasher/thriller/horror, it's best described as an American Giallo. White Of The Eye is a seriously juicy cult item for 80's genre aficionados, i dont know how i've never even heard of it, and watching it on the always dependable Arrow Video's beautiful blu ray transfer (keeping the grain but making the colors pop) makes me wonder what other cinematic treasures there are out there hidden from sight, the movie takes the similar slasher movie, woman in peril, psycho thriller genres and has it always unfold in a completely unnatural way, giving us a fascinating, even somewhat complex marital conundrum that any conventional thriller would go down the simple get away/chase route, although these things occur in the plot, again though it all unfolds in such a off kilter way that it makes for an unpredictable, uncomfortable and riveting film experience. The death scenes are shot like an 80's art instillation and the cinematography and visual look of the film are amazing and stylish. It's not for everyone, but this is a real cult find, a great twist on the "is my husband a killer"? story, and it has a seriously mad climax which stunningly caps off a fairly demented, intense film experience in a big, how did we get here? kinda way. For twisted freaks, genre lovers, 80's cult enthusiasts and those who love their films with a heavy side order of freaky.
June 25, 2014
Strange left field genre film that manages to thrill and confuse in equal measure. Finally a movie featuring Hi-Fi too. I almost wept with joy...
½ October 7, 2013
Highly stylized and huge WTF factor. I loved it but not for some.
September 6, 2013
Why is this film so unpopular? Other than some dated music I thought it was really good! David Keith is really scary and Cathy Moriarty is strong and convincing. Excellent stuff!
January 7, 2013
A largely overlooked and criminally underrated film from Donald Cammell.
As one would expect from such a visionary artist White of the Eye is visually and aurally resplendent throughout with some eye popping set-pieces and driving music score courtesy of Nick Mason (Pink Floyd).
Two sequences in particular are reminscent of Dario Argento and Mario Bava.
Whilst the story is pretty much a basic stalk and slash, the inventive visuals and narrative arc which are afforded this film set it aside from it's contemporaries.
In fact White of the Eye is part slasher, part psychological drama come character study.
There are very few films like this because of the unique visual composition and the way Cammell tells the story.
This consists of overexposed flashbacks and unusual editing techniques.
Both David Keith and Cathy Moriarty are great and some of the dialogue between the two is both spiritual and intellectual.
White of the Eye being borderline arthouse doesn't cater to someone who doesn't appreciate art and intellectual cinema.
If you find Hollywood trash is rotting your brain and doesn't stimulate your mind try giving Cammell's film a try.
July 15, 2011
Cumbersome thriller about a loving husband turned psychopath after he has delusions that the center of the universe has chosen him to kill beautiful women. Stylistic at times but utterly aggravating in it's plotting as the film reveals every twist and turn a good hour before it executes them. This film doesn't look good enough to make up for its contrived and dreary story; even the actors look like they don't know what they're doing. David Keith as the psychopathic father never hits a menacing note throughout the entire film and Cathy Moriarty is given the typical misogynistic "screaming woman" role. Director Donald Cammell seems to have had large aspirations for this film as he includes great sweeping shots of the Arizona landscape along with classical music (featuring Gustav Mahler's Second Symphony throughout the film). These touches made White of the Eye less aggravating than other films in it's genre but I can't say they build up enough of a reason to bother with this film.
January 13, 2011
Great exploration of familiar themes for Cammell fans, with transposition of roles between characters and a disturbing exposition of the killer as artist. Powell's influence is clear in the manner taken for shooting the kills, with heavy use of reflections and even a mirror held up for the victim to see their own demise. But the soundtrack by Rick Fenn and Pink Floyd's Nick Mason echoes these events, and reflects the antogonist's role as an audiophile as much as the visuals do his dualistic P.O.V.
November 27, 2010
Absolutely crazy movie that proves David Keith (not Keith David) is an amazing actor, you really don't know where it's going start to finish.
April 26, 2010
Hardly released and indeed almost unknown but a good thriller.
½ August 12, 2009
Donald Cammell is one of the more criminally underrated directors of our time. Perhaps this neglect is a result of his short filmography (which consists of only four feature length films), perhaps it's because his films are an odd combination of conventionalism and pretentious artistry that seem to conflict with one another, or perhaps it's because he has been overshadowed by his more "successful" film partner Nicolas Roeg, who together made the classic psychedelic gangster thriller "Performance". Whatever the case may be, Cammell's work needs to be re-evaluated as one will find him to be a true film auteur - a master of dark, nihilistic, and existentialistic thrillers.

In terms of plot, "White of the Eye" is probably the most conventional of Cammell's films - the narrative is a straightforward rendition of the "slasher" genre (if one wishes to call it as such), offering up no surprising developments or unexpected turns - but everything else about the film is far from conventional.

The editing is by far the most mesmerizing aspect of the film. The cuts are elliptical, with time and space overlapping with one another until they ultimately merge, creating a surreal and hallucinatory ambiance.

Adding to this mood is the fact that the cuts are often not cuts at all but rather dissolves - shots melt into one another instead of being severed by splicing as they normally are, not only amplifying the dream-like nature of the film but also seeming to suggest that the characters are linked to one another on a more metaphysical level rather than their social relationships.

Yet there is another significant detail about the editing that needs to be addressed - the rapid succession of of cuts made during several key sequences. For example, the first murder sequence is not simply shot in a long take - nor is it filmed in a gritty, kinetic style as they often are - but rather it is carefully constructed with a multitude of symbolic edits that both compliment and contrast the scene with a series of juxtapositions (a goldfish flounders in a bowl of meat, the heads of roses become detached as they fall, red sauce is splattered across a white table and a painting, etc.). These sequences are so rich and detail that it would take several viewings to fully comprehend each shot's significance.

In addition to the spectacular editing, the direction is just as superb, with the camera tracking in forcefully and spinning around characters rapidly to create greater intensity and "presence" (we feel... we experience more).

The cinematography is also striking with such wonderful compositional decisions as extreme closeup of the eye, sudden inversion of colors (that is, shot in the negative), etc.

Interestingly, the musical score is composed by members of "Pink Floyd" and is truly haunting - it's strange, not rhythmic, and unbalanced, amplifying the uneasy, surreal, and dream-like atmosphere the other aspects of the film have already established.

The film is an experience. It is a visceral and psychedelic assault on the senses. It has to be felt and not rigorously deconstructed. It is a film about the surface, about symbolisms, about metaphors, about a mood, about a feeling, all told with a framework of a conventional genre piece. Conflicting elements to be sure, but a mesmerizing film none the less.
August 10, 2009
Donald Cammell directed this 1987 thriller about a sound technician in a little town in Arizona, that is suspected of being a serial killer of local suburban housewives. David Keith and Cathy Moriarty star in this movie, that was at the top of my Want List for quite awhile. Keith portrays Paul, whom the police have several clues that tie him to the bloody mutilation murders, and Moriarty is his wife whom is starting to believe the police. This movie has a lot of style, and what a soundtrack with Nick Mason of Pink Floyd providing the Floydish music. It falls pretty much in the art movie genre, even though it has some Giallo elements to it, and David Keith is indeed a scary guy in the best role of his career. Stunning would not be too strong of an adjective to describe this mind numbing thriller that is almost hypnotic in its approach to the story and the haunting direction of Cammell. The movie has some interesting twists and turns, and one particular scene where Paul's wife finds something hideous hidden under their bathtub is truly horrifying. This is not a movie to miss, a true cult type film that you will probably want to watch multiple times. It was well worth the effort I had to put forward to find this movie, it's definitely a favorite of mine now.
March 8, 2009
I'd like to see a widescreen version of this. I also seem to recall reading an online article saying the film was cut?
½ August 17, 2008
chilling...david keiths best role.
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2008
i haven't seen it in awhile but this is a pretty good and suspenseful slasher that was filmed in my town :)
½ June 2, 2008
Oh dear. The reviews by fellow flixsterers seem to indicate high levels of bullshit acceptance. Yes, I know, Donald Cammell was a great misunderstood genius blah blah blah and he committed suicide so must be respected at all costs blah blah... it's incoherent, self-indulgent, rambling... but at least it's not as bad as Wild Side.
½ May 4, 2008
A really overlooked film and unheard, but demands a lot of attention and evaluation. Donald Cammell is a film genius and his mosiac cinematic painting really helps with that statement!!
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