Eyes Wide Open (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/05/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 91 mins

Impressively directed, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging drama that plays like an orthodox Jewish version of Brokeback Mountain, though the pacing and minimalistic dialogue might prove too arthouse for some tastes.

What's it all about?
Directed by Haim Tabakman, Eyes Wide Open (Einaym Pkuhot, original title fans) is set in modern-day Jerusalem and stars Zohar Shtrauss as Aaron, an orthodox Jew and married father of four who inherits his father's butcher shop. When gifted sketch artist Ezri (Ran Danker) asks to use the shop phone, Aaron finds himself strangely drawn to the young man and ends up taking him on as an apprentice and allowing him to live in the shop's back room.

Despite (or perhaps because of) rumours about Ezri's previous behaviour, Aaron finds himself increasingly unable to control his feelings and it isn't long before the pair begin a homosexual affair. Meanwhile, Aaron's wife Rivka (Tinkerbell) becomes increasingly suspicious and things gradually start to spiral out of control.

The Good
Zohar Shtrauss and Ran Danker are both excellent, delivering sensitive, subtle performances and conveying a wealth of powerful emotion despite having relatively little dialogue. There's also strong support from Tinkerbell and Tzahi Grad as the rabbi who warns Aaron to steer clear of Ezri.

The script is extremely well thought out, managing to convey the emotional intensity (and the sheer joy) of the relationship while at the same time clearly showing the devastating effect it has on both the family and the community. It also explores thought-provoking ideas on the nature and purpose of sin and lust, without ever devolving into overt preachiness.

The Bad
Despite the fact that this is essentially an orthodox Jewish version of Brokeback Mountain, there is a potential drawback with the film, which is that, at first glance, the minimalistic dialogue, themes and setting might prove too relentlessly arthouse for some tastes.

Worth seeing?
Eyes Wide Open is a well made, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging drama with strong performances from its two leads. Worth seeing.

Film Trailer

Eyes Wide Open (12A)
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Content updated: 19/10/2017 20:45

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