Tuesday, December 15, 2015

ONE EYED GIRL (2014) (Blu-ray Review)


Label: Dark Sky Films
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 103 Minutes
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:) 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Surround 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Director: Nick Matthews
Cast: Steve Le Marquand, Sara West, Mark Leonard

Synopsis: On the brink of a nervous breakdown, young psychiatrist Travis meets Grace, a representative of a secret church that promises salvation to even the most troubled of its members. Intrigued, Travis joins the church and meets its leader, the charismatic Father Jay, who indoctrinates him into his sect’s sometimes radical practices. When a series of tragedies befalls Father Jay and his flock, Travis must decide if his loyalty truly lies with Father Jay, the ever-elusive Grace, or himself.

This Australian psychological thriller is a dark journey, a slow-burn of a watch that touches on themes of loss, anger and redemption. We have a young psychiatrist named Travis (Mark Leonard Winter) who has experienced the death of one of his own patients, a young woman with whom he was emotionally attached, apparently beyond any proper ethical way. As the movie moves forward we find that he was either unable or maybe even unwilling to save her, in the aftermath of her death he spirals out of control, doubting his own ability to help others he now finds himself on the verge of a nervous breakdown, abusing drugs to numb the pain. He quits his job as a therapist and launches into a series of self-destructive behaviors. Now at his darkest hour he meets a young woman named Grace (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), who brings him into a group therapy session run by the charismatic Jay (Steve Le Marquand) who uses radical therapies to inspire change in people with deep seated problems and drug addiction. 

At one of the meetings Travis is invited to attend further group therapy at a rural farmhouse run by Jay, whom is referred to as Father by his flock of followers, which seems a little culty. At first Travis fights against the therapy sessions, which go against his own experience as a psychiatrist, but slowly over time he comes to accept the therapies and begins to respond to them, fighting off the anger and fog of the drug withdrawl and making some headway into his own head space, facing his fears head-on. However, when Travis begins to see a few unseemly events transpire around the farmhouse the illusion and promise of the therapies begin to erode, leading to betrayal and a violent finale. 

The structure of the story is a bit disjointed by design with flashbacks to the events that brought Travis to where he finds himself at the beginning of the story, I found the narrative not hard to follow but not quite satisfying either. I think an analog to this film might be We Need to Talk about Kevin but without the gut-punch of a finale, there are moments but they are not sustained, it feels like its leading to something potent, but I think it goes out with a bit of a whimper, which some might call it a quiet intensity, but I'll just say it left me unfulfilled. 2.5/5