CORNER OF YOUR EYE

2.5 Stars
Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 96 minutes
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In terms of plotlines there is obtuse, there is surreal, and there is also indecipherable. Somewhere among those choices you will find the movie, “Corner of Your Eye”. Writer/Director Jesse Spencer brings us into the minds of three friends, but it is up to us to navigate their ids without a roadmap.
Throughout the film we are rarely sure what their reality is and what is their subconscious state, and even when it is certain they are in the dream world it is not clear whose dream it is. The film often folds back over itself, but without a reference point it is difficult to say when it is being clever.
It takes less than a minute to see how elliptical things are in this movie. A phone call awakens Sam and his friend Paul asks to meet him first thing in the morning. At the coffee shop Paul announces that he is being hounded by eyes. Yes—I said eyes. He points out a large orb wedged into the top corner of the shop, and they now appear in any room Sam enters. Meanwhile Sara is working behind the counter and sees Sam sitting alone and carrying on a conversation. From this things begin to veer away from logic.
Sam goes home and finds plenty of the eyes with tendrils scattered around his apartment. He sharpens up a quiver of #2 pencils and goes about stabbing the ocular invaders. Then he falls asleep and dreams he is in a theater and Paul is on stage performing magic. There are repeated visits to the coffee shop where Sara plays a particular song that sounds like the theme to a cartoon show, but it manages to dispel the eyes. Then there are repeated late-night phone calls, and Sara is now sharing a bed and a relationship with Sam. We come to the conclusion that the theater is where the three friends meet as they are dreaming together.
At this time Sara inquires of Paul on how he came to be in the theater. His answer is a perfect summation of the film:
“Either I dreamt it, or I remember being here while in another dream, or maybe I’m only dreaming now that I remember it being here.”
That should give you an inclination of the incoherence taking place. After hearing that from Paul even Sam had to say, “OK…thinking is not helping.” Amen to that.
Next we learn that even when separated by distance the three friends can still convene together in their dreams, sitting together in the audience of the theater. One night Sam asks Sara how her trip in Chicago is going and Paul states he is currently driving home. Sam awakens and finds out Paul did in fact wreck his car and now is in a coma, which means he is permanently found in the theater.
During their next visit Paul takes Sam to see all his new discoveries. They walk outside and climb into a dumpster and this takes them onto the roof of a building. From there they can enter an observatory and when Sam peers into the telescope he can see himself through the various eyes he encountered early on, including the point of view of his apartment stabbings.
I am tempted to say this was a non-linear story line, but I am hard pressed to divine an actual story anywhere here. Apart from the theater scenes, which were clearly the three friends collectively dreaming, it is an open field as to what was the actual realm. As much as you may want to call this clever or creative, with no discernable reality who is to say?
Portions of the film were engaging, the actors did a rather nice job, and for stretches I found things interesting. But the story defies involvement. If you encounter this movie my best advice is to sit back and let it wash over you. You may be tempted to try working out the numerous entanglements, but it is an exercise in futility. Just remember—thinking is not helping.

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Posted on September 4, 2003 in Reviews by
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