Film-Forward Review: [CLOSE YOUR EYES]

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Directed by: Nick Willing.
Produced by: Michele Camarda.
Written by: Nick Willing & William Brookfield, based on the novel Doctor Sleep by Madison Smartt Bell.
Director of Photography: Peter Sova.
Edited by: Niven Howie.
Music by: Simon Boswell.
Released by: First Look.
Country of Origin: UK. 108 min. Rated: R.
With: Goran Visnijc, Shirley Henderson, Paddy Considine & Fiona Shaw.

Although the quest for immortality is a common theme, Close Your Eyes is nevertheless compelling. Michael Strother (Visnjic), an American in London, treats Janet Losey (Henderson), a London cop, to stop smoking through hypnosis. During therapy, he sees into her mind, and beholds a little girl floating just beneath the surface of water. The girl from Janetís subconscious has actually been kidnapped by a serial killer. She has escaped and has been left mute from trauma. Unbeknownst to her superior, Janet calls on Michael to help her with this case. He is soon deeply involved in the search for the madman wanted for the "tattoo murders" of several children.

Like other successful suspense films, we get eerie settings (gothic churches), a fare share of blood and gore (including one particularly grizzly death), and also a ghost story. Jarring cinematography takes us into both Michael and Janet's subconscious. Although there are many storylines, the film is not at all confusing or too complicated, but rather intricately layered pulling the viewer into all plot lines. Given its fantastic ending, one would think the film is too far-fetched to be credible, yet the child-in-jeopardy story line is gripping enough to keep one sucked into the filmís reality. And Shirley Hendersonís sardonic officer is a bolt of energy in all her scenes. An amalgam of The Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, with a touch of David Fincher (Se7en), Close Your Eyes should please this genreís fans. Lisette Johnson
April 22, 2004



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