Tuesday, 6 December 2016


Nicolas Pesce takes us through the eyes of a young woman into the disturbed mind within, yet with cool detachment and a beguiling attentiveness to style, he never lets us actually see through those eyes. The hostility of an unforgiving world is barely glimpsed, yet its oppression keenly noted in Pesce's dispassionate critique of an American society that he regards as neglectful, to distressing effect. The Eyes of My Mother is unsettling, uncomfortable horror, but even its most audacious strides into torture-porn territory are excusable given this context. Pesce's focus is not on the mechanics of violence but on the consequences and the implications of it, and this journey into the mind thus encourages further psychological inquiry, now into the impetus behind the violence. It's a necessary restraint that he displays in depicting all these hideous methods of bodily harm, and while the emotional injury exhibited is far more disquieting, and indeed reminiscent of the most troubling content in bona fide torture-porn films, it doesn't feel excessive. Even in the film's final shots, Pesce is still taking aim at a culture of normalization, stifling the development of those whose conformity is compulsorily void, though this strain of sensitivity can't rescue an ending that veers wildly off the rails. The Eyes of My Mother is, up to this point, not a perfect film, but the standards which it has thus far set are seemingly abandoned for a quick-fix finale that answers none of its questions, solves none of its problems, compliments none of its finest attributes. It's an excellent film with a crummy conclusion.