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Donald Cammell
David Keith, Cathy Moriarty, Alan Rosenberg, Art Evans
Writing Credits:
Donald Cammell and China Cammell

In a wealthy and isolated desert community, a sound expert is targeted as the prime suspect of a series of brutal murders of local suburban housewives who were attacked and mutilated in their homes.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 11/17/2015

• Audio Commentary with Donald Cammell Biographer Sam Umland
• “Into the White” Featurette
• “Into the Vortex” Featurette
• “Eye of the Detective” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes with Commentary
• Alternate Credit Sequence
• Bleach Bypass Sequence
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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White of the Eye [Blu-Ray] (1987)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 11, 2015)

If Jeopardy featured “Obscure 80s Thrillers” as a category, I suspect 1987’s White of the Eye would make an appearance. I was 20 when the movie came out but I boast zero memory of it – which seems like less of a surprise when I read IMDB’s claim that it earned only $225,000 at the US box office.

Someone must remember – and like - Eye or else I wouldn’t have this Blu-ray in my hands, so I figured I’d give it a shot. In Arizona, a serial killer stalks and murders wealthy women. Clues point toward upscale audio installer Paul White (David Keith) as the culprit, so we follow his journey.

That synopsis makes Eye sound a lot more coherent and linear than it actually is. The tale flits around from location to location and year to year with some alacrity, as it digs into various story domains without a lot of obvious logic.

Or clear purpose, for that matter. Eye offers an unusual thriller in that it seems more concerned with seemingly minor character tidbits than with plot and narrative. While it sports more than a few 80s genre flashes – especially in the opening murder and its serious Miami Vice vibe – much of the remaining flick feels like it mix of influences from Terrence Malick and Nicolas Roeg.

Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise, as writer/director Donald Cammell co-directed 1970’s Performance along with Roeg. Even though Eye occasionally shows the period flourishes I mentioned – touches that make it resemble something that would’ve aired on Cinemax back in the day – it still gives us a substantially artier/more unusual vibe than the typical serial killer flick.

For a while, at least. I want to avoid spoilers, of course, but Eye feels a lot more conventional in its third act. The movie takes an odd left turn and suddenly becomes a variation on the finale of 1980’s The Shining.

Given my usual preferences, I should be pleased with the movie’s change of pace. Normally I don’t care for self-consciously “different” films, so I should dislike the first two-thirds of Eye and embrace its more conventional third act.

In this case, however, the opposite occurs. When Eye stays small and quirky, it becomes oddly compelling. Even though it often doesn’t feel like much narrative or character development takes place, the film manages a strange energy that makes it interesting.

Because of this, the movie’s attempts to give us a more traditional finale seem forced. As I alluded, the third act feels like it’s out of a different movie – literally, since the characters and events echo those of The Shining. The shift comes out of nowhere and doesn’t feel organic.

At least Eye offers two-thirds of an interesting movie. It delivers a weird ride, but it’s usually a pretty compelling journey.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

White of the Eye appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As the movie starts, the disc informs us that “sharpness, grain and clarity fluctuate during the film as director Donald Cammell used different stylistic choices during filming, including a ‘bleach bypass’ process during some scenes.”

Those decisions meant it became a challenge to rate the picture quality of Eye. While I suspect the Blu-ray accurately replicated the source, the image came with obvious ups and downs.

As noted by the Blu-ray’s statement, sharpness appeared inconsistent. At times, the movie looked pretty accurate and concise, but a fair amount of soft, ill-defined elements appeared. Overall delineation was average, I’d say. No issues with jaggies or moiré effects occurred, and I witnessed no edge haloes. With all that grain on display, I suspected no digital noise reduction concerns, and print flaws remained minimal; I saw a few small specks and nothing more.

Colors varied. The movie usually opted for a sandy-red palette that reflected the Arizona setting. These hues could be a little overbearing, but they were usually acceptable. Blacks seemed reasonably deep, and low-light shots offered fairly good clarity.

Eye wasn’t an especially attractive image, but it mostly showed the film as intended – I guess. I’m taking a leap of faith with my rating of “B—“, as the image on screen would objectively be more of a “C”. I’m hoping that the soft, fuzzy sequences did stem from the source.

Less equivocal pleasures came from the surprisingly solid DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Eye. While the soundfield didn’t dazzle, it opened up matters in a satisfying manner, especially in the forward channels. Surround usage seemed modest, but the front speakers boasted good movement and localization. Music offered solid stereo presence, and effects added life to the proceedings.

Audio quality held up well over the last 28 years. A little edginess occasionally impacted speech, but the lines remained intelligible and reasonably natural – even with some iffy looping. Effects seemed fairly accurate, and music showed nice range and clarity. A little hiss became a minor distraction, but this was usually a pleasing soundtrack.

As we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from Donald Cammell biographer Sam Umland. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the source novel and its adaptation, story/character areas, themes, influences and interpretation, cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography, visual design, and related subjects.

Umland mostly touches on story/interpretation topics, and that usually works well. At times, he semi-narrates the film, but Umland still gives us some good insights. Combined with a decent array of production details, this turns into a fairly satisfying chat.

A few featurettes follow. Into the White goes for 11 minutes and offers comments from director of photography Larry McConkey,. He discusses his relationship Cammell as well as his work on the film. McConkey offers a good collection of notes, especially when he gets into the challenges related to working with Cammell.

During the 17-minute, 51-second Into the Vortex, we get a chat with actor Alan Rosenberg. He talks about his performance as well as a mix of experiences during the production. Though not quite as fascinating as McConkey’s piece, Rosenberg gives us a useful perspective on the movie.

Next we find Eye of the Detective, a 15-minute, 36-second conversation with actor Art Evans. Like Rosenberg, Evans goes over aspects of his character/performance and elements of the shoot. This becomes another engaging chat.

Two Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 31 seconds. Because the original audio was lost, these come with commentary from Umland. He gives us info about the silent segments so they’ll make sense. Both show Joan at her thrift shop job. They offer some decent expository material.

We also get an Alternate Credit Sequence (2:27) as well as a Bleach Bypass Sequences (11:50). “Credit” is waste of time, as literally the only difference comes from the fact the final film adds a mention that the script was based on a novel. Everything else remains identical.

“Bypass” lets us see what a mix of movie scenes look like without the bleach technique applied. It’s moderately interesting to see them presented in a less stylized manner.

A second disc presents a DVD copy of Eye. It includes all the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Odd but often compelling, White of the Eye creates a reasonably interesting thriller. It deviates from the norm just enough to become intriguing, though it lacks consistency – and goes off the rails at the end. The Blu-ray offers mostly good picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. Eye doesn’t totally satisfy, but it stays involving.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
1 3:
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