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Eye for an Eye

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by John Schlesinger

Karen McCann's (Sally Field) world is torn apart while driving home one day when she receives a call on her cell phone from her daughter--who is being raped and murdered as she speaks. The murderer--smirking, animalistic Robert Doob (Kiefer Sutherland)--is … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Dramas
Director: John Schlesinger
Release Date: 1996
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Eye for an Eye

Eye For An Eye

  • Jun 28, 2001
Pros: Very realistic

Cons: None

The Bottom Line: An intense thriller that shows how when justice fails the innocent must think like the guilty to get results.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals everything about the movie's plot.

Earlier this week I saw a commercial on CBS for Eye For An Eye with Sally Field and Ed Harris to be aired. I remember seeing previews back in 1996 for this movie and finally had the opportunity to watch this with no interruptions.

Eye For An Eye was produced by Michael Levy and Directed by John Schlesinger. Sally and Ed are Mary and Mack McCann with Beverly D’Angelo as Dolly Green a colleague and friend to Mary. Joe Mantegna played the Detective on the case. At the theatres this was rated R for strong language, violence and adult situations.

It was not entirely clear to me the line of work Mary McCann was in but it seemed to be related to television. What struck me in the beginning minutes of Eye For An Eye was the scene of Mary at work in a room with many television sets. There on the screen was a shot of OJ Simpson at his trial and then the camera shot to Marcia Clark. This seemed to be an indication of how the police would handle the upcoming case in Eye For An Eye. I was not expecting to see that and it made an impression on me.

The movie begins on the birthday of the youngest daughter to Mary with her stuck in traffic phoning home to let them know she will be late. Her oldest daughter that is the stepdaughter to Mack is Julie who skipped a soccer practice I believe to help with the decorations. While talking to her mom on the phone the doorbell rings and that is when the terror begins.

While sitting in her car trapped in this horrific traffic Mary is hearing her daughter being attacked by an intruder. Frantically Mary gets out of her car trying to get another driver to call the police so she can still stay on the line and communicate with her daughter.

She ends up hailing a taxi to her home but is not allowed into the crime scene. The case is slow going at first until the Detective tells Mary they have blood and sperm samples. So now it is clear that Julie was raped as well. The investigation leads into delivery personnel who were coming into the house for the party being planned.

The police arrest the suspect Robert Doob, played intensely by Keifer Sutherland. Mary has taped his arrest from the news and through out the movie is seen watching the tape zeroing in on Doob. It is a bit confusing when the Detective puts another man on the case and they both are in court for the hearing.

The first hint of the defendant getting off was when his lawyer asked for the handcuffs to be removed and he sat there tapping on the table and turned to look at Mary a few times. The legal talk between the two lawyers was a bit too fast for me to keep up and it seemed hurried. The outcome was due to a notification that was not handled with the defense getting a sperm sample left the judge dropping the charges.

Soon after Mary went to court and got a copy of the file but the clerk had used white-out over the address on file for Doob. Mary was in a bathroom stall wiping away the white-out until the address was legible. The neighborhood where Doob lived was over a pool hall and you rent rooms by the week. She spent days watching him from across the street or in her car. She was spotted the time she followed him making a delivery to a house and looking in the window afterwards.

Mary headed over to the station to inform the Detective of what she saw but got the third degree for following Doob. She told him that Doob marked the territory like a dog. At least the Detective did show up at the delivery warehouse to issue a warning to Doob.

My heart was racing when I saw Doob enter a playhouse on the grounds where the young daughter was at school. It was a chilling scene to see him playing pretend party with the other daughter. They kept changing scenes to see Mary at a gym with another woman and I was thinking the worse would happen to her other daughter. What relief when Alexandra came running down the school steps to see her Mom. Then as they were walking to their car you saw the jeep that Doob was driving while making his delivery that Mary observed. Doob issued a warning to Mary to stay out of his neighborhood and he would do the same.

This encounter was never told to Mack as were the daily observations of Doob. The Detective had given Mary information about a support group for families who lost their children to violence. She befriended a woman there who she was at the gym with, this woman was encouraging her to get on with her life.

At the Tuesday night support groups Mary went without Mack, who did attend the first one. One night while looking for the restroom Mary found a couple and another man in another room, having a private conversation. When she learned at another meeting that the person who killed this couple’s son was murdered recently she inquired to the man she saw with them and asked for help.

These two men hooked Mary up with gun lessons and getting herself in fitness training and karate type defense classes. They told her they would help her get a gun and take matters into her own hands, but she pulls the trigger.

During one of her visits to the garage they meet at it was apparent that a van was taping conversations so there was a leak. The next support group the female friend was observing Mary talk to that man again. Mary got the gun in a paper bag from the man while they were having lunch in a diner and then went to visit the female friend.

She was quite shocked to see the son this woman claimed to have been murdered was alive. She then told Mary that she was working undercover to expose vigilantism. She urged Mary not to do it, because if it was not in self defense she would end up in jail and what was that teaching her other daughter. During a business meeting Mary went into a conference room and called the man to let him know she wanted out.

Then the unthinkable did happen with Dobb arriving at the house again delivering groceries to the girl that Mary had tried to warn but due to not speaking Spanish could not issue her warning. The Detective called Mary to relay the bad news about this woman being killed. He told her that they would keep him forty-eight hours but since he delivered groceries there it was not out of the ordinary to find his prints on things.

Doob did walk and Mary took the law into her own hands and provoked him into coming to her house so she could in the end kill him in self defense. She planned a family trip and removed some boxes from her office so her colleague would need her and sent her husband and daughter ahead promising she would be only a few hours.

She went to the place Doob lived and got a hold of the keys to his room and ransacked it leaving her hat behind. She methodically got home and went upstairs to the bathroom for a shower. Doob of course climbs over the fence and gets into the house. He slowly walks through the house until he hears the shower and at the last minute you see a towel where I had thought Mary still was. She was behind him holding a gun.

At the same time the father and daughter were in the car and somehow the topic came to the man in the jeep that Mommy always watches on television was at her school. Mack made a sharp turn heading back home arriving as the police were covering up Doob with his wife sitting on the couch.

Well the Detective did have brains after all because he told Mary he knew what she did and she told him to proove it. So in the end the innocent learned from the guilty how to work the system to get justice in the end.

From the commercials and past previews I was expecting a real thriller that would scare me to the gills. This was not the case and I found a few things off. Julie the one who was killed had skipped a practice but that was never mentioned again like how it could have been avoided.

The youngest daughter seemed more attached to the father always calling out to him when she had nightmares. The fast talking lawyer scenario in the court room left me confused since it went so fast without time for me to digest how this happened. There was a pillow that Mary saved of Julie’s, that Alexandra dropped ice cream on so she and Mack washed it. This upset Mary since she no longer could smell Julie on the pillow. I thought the husband was a bit insensitive to that.

Then what seemed a few days after the murder they were visiting a zoo or something similar with the daughter running fast in front of the parents. This disturbed the Mother very much but the husband did not seem to be cautious.

The murder took place in their house and the daughter was alone in her room and not like camping with the parents. The day of the funeral Mary looked odd at times at the rug and I assumed it was due to her daughter being killed on it, but that did not pan out. They did not seem to emphasize the grief and instead wanted to get on with life and get past it. When Mary was talking to the undercover gal before she knew this woman was not encouraging her to have memories of her slain daughter but instead to think of her other daughter.

I still enjoyed this fast paced movie that showed how the law is not on the side of the victim and how those suffering handle their grief in other ways. I was relieved in the end that this was not as scary as I imagined it would be. Keifer Sutherland was a believable nutcase who spent his life in and out of jail cells and seemed to learn how to work the system to his advantage. Sally Field played the part of the Mother very emotionally and had me rooting for her. My disappointment would be in the way the husband was portrayed to be less involved in what was happening with his wife.

I would suggest using caution for young viewers since there is some violence and the attacking of the girls. While watching this I recognized many areas where this was filmed and it kind of gave me the creeps. Since I am not a fan of thrillers I cannot compare this to anything of late but watched due to the talents of Sally Field being cast in the lead role.


Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Good Date Movie
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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