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on 12 June 2011
Underviewed and underappreciated White Of The Eye is a masterpiece make no mistake. For a film about a serial killer this is really high end stuff.

Magnificent direction from Donald Cammell, with superb performances from Cathy Moriarty and David Keith. This is very disturbing in parts but also tender, thought-provoking and utterly gripping from start to finish.

Making wonderful use of the Tuscon locations and featuring a wealth of quirky minor characters, White Of The Eye must be seen! Any serious film fan will love this!
Deserves a proper release on DVD as this particular transfer is pretty awful.

I await with bated breath a restored Bluray release for this incredible film.
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on 30 July 2000
This is a great movie. Charting a particularly difficult marital crisis, the film addresses subjects of love, honesty and loyalty. Is it possible to love someone unconditionally - no matter what? How much can you really know someone you are married to? At what point are you emotionally betrayed by a lover?
The movie follows a typical 80's slasher framework for the first two acts. This cliched, predictable structure allows plenty of opportunity to explore the issues mentioned above.
In the third act, beginning with a grisly bathroom discovery, the slasher movie genre stutters. Expectations here would be for a frantic, exciting chase, with the tables ultimately turned on the killer. We don't get that - really - and this has led some to judge the film as a failure.
Instead, Cammell explores more fully the relationship between the husband and wife. In a hugely unsettling sequence we see their original courtship, the closeness between them now and their reluctance to function in the world apart from each other.
It might be risky, but Cammell pulls it off - just - to make a film that is compelling, disturbing and absurdly romantic. The epilogue, on the surface lifted directly from the 80's straight-to-video handbook, contains an elegance and poignancy which throws this movie in a wonderfully uplifting light.
Performances from the two principles, particularly Moriarty, are peerless. Cinematography and editing are of a similar high standard to Cammell's other work. For some, the movie will be stylistically a period piece, but it is none the worse for this.
If you want a typical slasher movie, get Halloween instead. However if you can see past the cliched 80's format, occasionally awkward arhouse pretensions and extremely challenging subversion of genre, "White of the Eye" is one of the best-observed relationship dramas you are likely to see this, or any, year.
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on 26 May 2014
Not perhaps the best made, but definitely the most fascinating psycho killer film i've ever seen. No formulaic audience pandering here, but instead a film of great imagery and ideas. Not as stimulating as Performance was, but Donald Cammell showcases here the sort of wonderfully off kilter genre pieces his career could have been made of if he had the luck of Performance co-director Nicolas Roeg. White of the Eye takes the mundane slasher and bends it in many different ways to express the theme of marriage in decline and violence in relationships in general. It also presents us with one of films most realised killers in Paul. With his apache obsession, audiophilia and musings on humanity's place in the universe, he has no equal in terms of character.

White of the Eye never once delves into been there done that territory at least without acknowledgment and reconstruction of context and for a genre as stalwart as thriller, that is a towering achievement. An achievement only a truly devoted artist like Cammell could be responsible for. I have a feeling i will be revisiting this film many a time with afresh opinion after each viewing. The hypnotic soundtrack and Argento set pieces don't hurt either.
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Despite being the creative force behind Performance, it’s all too easy to see why the co-director Donald Cammell had to appoint after completely alienating the crew, Nicolas Roeg, went on to greater glories while he never even developed much of a cult reputation despite ticking all the requisite boxes (a skewed worldview, constant fights with producers and distributors, a handful of barely distributed box-office flops that impressed the odd critic): his films are full of half developed ideas and shifts in tone that often mistake chaos, onscreen and off, for creativity. Case in point White of the Eye, a serial killer drama - it’s too devoid of tension and unsettling mood to be called a thriller - that sounds much more interesting on paper than it does on screen. Not that it doesn’t have the odd section that creates a mood all its own, but it’s strangely uncompelling before an increasingly silly last act throws in not one but two psychos for a finale that just leaves you admiring the actors for playing it so straight as the writer-director throws credibility completely out the window after spending so much time creating a convincing rural blue collar milieu.

At its heart are two fine performances from David Keith and Cathy Moriarty, and they do more to keep the film on track that Cammell does. Keith’s small town audio engineer and decent family man finds himself on the suspects list in series of murders of wealthy women because he’s one of 42 people in that state to have bought a certain kind of tyre. No-one really seems to believe he’s done it and even his wife (Moriarty) is more concerned that he’s been cheating with one of his customers, the film focussing on their frayed but passionate relationship while the investigation by Art Evans’ Mahler and Piccasso-loving cop occasionally intrudes, jostling for scraps of screen time with bleach bypassed flashbacks of Moriarty’s earlier relationship with Alan Rosenberg (the only other potential suspect the film offers the audience) that brought her and Keith together. When the various strands finally collide in the last third, Cammell doesn’t really know how to resolve them: there are attempts to juxtapose mundane domesticity with horrendous crimes, the makeup design tries to combine the earlier hints of Native American mythology in the way the victims’ body parts were arranged with Kabuki Theatre, some standard slasher in the house plot mechanics and the where-did-he-come-from reappearance of one character that you suspect had the few people in the audience laughing in all the wrong places.

The result, like Cammell’s other films (Demon Seed, Wild Side) feels like he was humming a half-remembered song that had been running around inside his head but constantly turning into a different one before he could quite put his finger on the tune. It’s the kind of off-kilter unresolved approach to ideas that some find genius but the majority just find undisciplined and unsatisfying: it’s simply a matter of personal taste which conclusion you’ll reach. Mark me down as one of the latter.

Arrow’s Blu-ray/DVD combo has an acceptable transfer that’s not without some moments of digital noise in the darker scenes, though nothing as excessive as some of their earlier Argento releases before they got a bit more serious about quality control. It’s in the extras package that it excels, with pride of place going to Kevin Macdonald and chris rodley’s 73-minute BBC documentary Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance, which brings together an impressive array of collaborators (Roeg, James Fox, Mick Jagger and Barbara Steele among them) as well as friends and family and lengthy interviews with Cammell himself to chronicle his self-destructive nature and messy career: as one friend notes, his fascination with suicide was so great it was almost as if he deliberately sabotaged his career to remove any obstacle to finally committing it in an act he turned into a perverse kind of performance. It tends to focus heavily on Performance with only White of the Eye getting much attention of his films - his disastrous final film, Wild Side, that many felt lead to his suicide is passed over fairly briskly - but it’s a fascinating portrait of a man whose character flaws kept him from realising his potential that’s a lot more interesting than most of his work.

Also included are an audio commentary by Cammell’s biographer Sam Umland; two deleted scenes with John Diehl (who is still billed in the end credits despite no longer appearing in the finished film) with Umland’s commentary describing the missing audio; alternate opening credits; the flashback sequences without the bleach bypass visual effect, which almost play like a short film; a reconstruction of Cammell’s unfinished 1972 short film the argument by his friend and longtime editor Frank Mazzola; an interview with one of the film’s two cinematographers, Larry McConkey, that attests to Cammell’s passive aggressive love of creating conflict (true to form Cammell told neither cinematographer that he’d hired the other); and a booklet.
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on 25 February 2016
A rarely seen psycological thriller gets a well deserved Bluray release.
Great story, characters, soundtrack etc and all in perfect picture and sound quality.
Someone is murdering local housewives in an industrial desert town but who is responsible for these seemingly motiveless crimes?
Watch and find out.
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on 24 March 2014
Nice package from Arrow with strong picture and audio. The image is a little soft at times and the flashback scenes are grainy but both of these are intentional. LPCM 2.0 audio is good and English HoH subtitles are clear.

The extras are nice. The best of these is a feature length BBC doc on director Donald Cammell which is full of interviews with James Fox, Mick Jagger, Cammell, Barbara Steele etc.There is also alternate opening titles, bleach bypass scenes (11 mins of flashbacks without grain), interview with cinematographer (11 mins, very honest), short film "The Argument" (11 mins), collector booklet.

Region B.
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on 14 April 2008
This film is brilliant. It seems like an 80s slasher movie, but something really weird happens and the film is much bigger, it touches on all sorts of issues. The director also did Performance (with Nic Roeg), and Demon Seed. It's totally different to either of those. I can't recommend it highly enough, just make sure to go in without any expectations and you'll enjoy it.
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on 2 October 2015
Watched this the other night, and i really dont see what all the positive reviews are about. Yes, it it well filmed in places. Yes, great location shots too. And yes, it does have a unique take on the serial killer theme. But for me, THAT WAS IT! Nothing particularly exciting, tense, or captivating about it at all. In fact, about 25 mins from the end i actually barked at the screen, "COME OOOON!" Just..........not alot happened, for me. I have to ask myself, "Why did Arrow Video bother releasing this at all? Let alone package it up in a steelbook?" I think Arrow are GREAT, and i support alot of the work they do, particularly their brilliant horror releases, but this i just didnt get. Sorry Arrow, you are awesome, but i dont know why you bothered with this one.
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on 29 August 2008
Paul White(David Keith) is a devoted husband and father, and is well loved in the community he lives in. He works as an installer of highly advanced satelite television equipment in the homes of wealthy citizens.
Meanwhile, a group of detectives are investigating a series of horrific ritualistic murders, and suspicion falls upon Paul. Could this loving family man really be the perpetrator of these crimes, or is there someone else behind it?
This is an excellent variation on a well worn theme, as Donald Cammell creates a film that is both beautiful to look at, and offers a unique perspective on the slasher genre. Keith gives a remarkable performance as the perfect husband/father with skeletons in the cupboard, and Cathy Moriarty is equally good as his concerned wife.
The only small gripe I have is the ending. It seems so out of place from the rest of the film that it does dissapoint slightly, but there have been so many wonderful moments up to that point, it can be easily forgiven.
A fascinating, unique film, that has the ability to dazzle the senses, and leave a lasting impression on this viewer at least. Unfortunately, Cammell commited suicide in 1996, but at least we have films such as this to remember him by. Watch and enjoy
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on 22 November 2012
As with "Demon Seed" (his previous film despite the ten-year gap) Donald Cammell's "White of the Eye" is basically a straightforward genre film hugely enhanced by the director's idiosyncratic touches. His fingerprints are much more evident on this driven serial killer story - lush photography, razor-sharp editing, innovative camera angles and a couple of meaty twists along the way. The normally sturdy David Keith raises his game to give a superb performance and Cathy Moriarty finally gets a good film a long time after "Raging Bull" seemed to set her up for a great career. Easily the best of Cammell's solo films, a real minor gem that deserves a much bigger audience.

The precise DVD listed is Dutch, which means Dutch text on the synopsis on the rear cover but little else - the Dutch subtitles for the film can be turned off easily and the cover and spine are all-English. Picture quality is excellent.
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