21 February 2006 | Lechuguilla
A Terrifying Power
With explicit references to the Bible, "Eye Of God" is a thought provoking film that explores the effect of religious faith on the relationship between a lonely young woman named Ainsley (Martha Plimpton) and Jack (Kevin Anderson), the prison parolee whom Ainsley befriends. In its realism and its setting in rural Oklahoma, "Eye Of God" reminds me of "Silkwood". Both films are depressing, sad, and have a fatalistic quality to them. Both films explore life and death issues. And in both films, the essential question is not who, or when, or how, but ... why.
In style, "Eye Of God" is simple, direct, low-key, and personal. There's very little camera movement. Typically framed by doors or windows, most scenes are unobtrusive locked-off shots of characters talking. The cinematography is totally not flashy nor gimmicky in any way. The acting is direct, restrained, understated, and high in quality. Martha Plimpton gives a flawless performance. I was also impressed with the performance of Margo Martindale, in a support role. Further elevating the overall acting is Hal Holbrook who gives his usual raspy voice performance as the town sheriff.
There's very little score. At times, country songs can be heard in the background. The film opens with the beautiful gospel recording of "Live With Jesus", by Wynonna Judd.
Some viewers may not like the story's non-linear structure. The film uses time-cuts to force the plot ahead and then back in time in such a way that scenes are not necessarily in chronological order. But the scenes are always thematically related. As the film moves along, the various seemingly unrelated threads come together. And it all makes sense in the end.
This is a movingly personal film whose theme runs deep. As such, nearly all viewers can connect with one or more characters in some way. The film is entertaining for its high quality acting and for its interesting cinematography. But more than that, this is a film with a profound message relevant to contemporary audiences. "Eye Of God" is one of the best films of the last fifteen years.