Though non-linear, with numerous flashbacks, this film is extremely well-structured, as it tells the story of three people: an ex-convict who has embraced fundamentalist Christianity with a zealot's devotion, a young woman from an abusive background who befriends the ex-con, a teenager who has experienced the worst kind of abandonment and separation anxiety with far worse to come, and a sheriff narrator, whose cynical attitudes toward God are based on the experiences he reveals.
The young woman has a glass eye, the result of a youthful accident. The glass eye, of course, sees nothing, just as the woman herself cannot see the evil descending upon her until too late. And the eye of God -- symbolically made of glass too, also sees absolutely nothing as it allows evil to flourish in God's own name. (I doubt this movie is on Jerry Falwell's Top Ten List, and, if it were, he wouldn't be Jerry Falwell.)
The acting by all the principals and the directing are superlative. I hope someday this slice-of-life crime drama will receive the recognition it deserves and be released in a DVD version.
This movie is difficult to categorize, but it would make an ideal double bill with the Charles Laughton-directed "The Night of the Hunter," except that in the earlier movie, goodness triumphs. Not so in "The Eye of God."