Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Eyes of Laura Mars

Another movie I recently watched off my DVR that's available on DVD is The Eyes of Laura Mars.

Faye Dunaway plays Laura Mars, a photographer who at the beginning of our story has a new book coming out and a solo exhibition to go with it. In bed the night before, she has a strange dream. She sees one of her friends in the friend's apartment, and she sees the friend being murdered! OK,that in and of itself isn't so strange. But she sees the murder through the eyes of the murderer! Not that she's the murderer it's as if she's seeing it through somebody else's eyes. And when she calls up her friend, said friend doesn't answer. Worst of all the friend is eventually found dead in the apartment!

Unsurprisingly, this is a matter for the police, who send in detective John Neville (Tommy Lee Jones). He interviews people likely to be suspects in Mars' circle of friends: her chauffeur Tommy (Brad Dourif) and manager Donald (Rene Auberjonois). There's also Laura's ex-husband (Raul Julia, who for some bizarre reason is in the opening credits as R.J.) All of them are insistent that they are innocent. Meanwhile, Laura has a second vision during a photo shoot. And sure enough, there's another murder in exactly the same manner as Laura envisioned it.

As Neville investigates, he and Laura begin to fall in love. But Laura continues to have more vision, some of which have her as the victim. Who's committing the murders, and why? And why is Laura having these visions?

The last of these questions is never really answered, which for me was one of the flaws of the movie. The first two are answered, although I found the answer unsatisfying. What was satisfying, however, was the ambience of the movie. It was released in 1978, at the height of the disco era when New York was still a seedy place in many ways. I don't know if New York circa 1978 was quite like this (I was too young, and not a city person). But what is does capture is fairly spectacular in its garish decadence.

A lot of reviewers say The Eyes of Laura Mars is terrible, but I didn't think it was nearly that bad. It has some plot problems, but more than makes up for that in enthusiasm. Like Violent Saturday, it may be a mess, but it's a fun mess.

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