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The Eyes of My Mother

The Eyes of My Mother
Olivia Bond, Will Brill, Diana Agostini and Kika Magalhaes

Rated: R for disturbing violent content and behavior, and brief nudity.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date:  December 9, 2016 Released by: Magnet Releasing

This new horror-thriller from greenhorn director Nicolas Pesce has a chilling nihilism and stark loneliness running through it set off by a vicious random act of violence.

The Eyes of My Mother is deeply unsettling and perhaps to some could be considered an art-house version of the original Psycho even if many cineastes will not succumb to its outré haunting beauty; or its narrative convolutions and implausibility.

Pesce's interesting protagonist Francisca (Olivia Bond) aspires to a surgical vocation from her rustic American farm life after getting some tutelage in dissection from her mother (Diana Agostini). But, tragedy will strike in the form of a giggly drifter Charlie (Will Brill) and a parental entrance which will lead to imprisonment and torture in ways which will have murderous familial repercussions.

Cinematically, Pesce makes a hair-raising, disturbing exercise emotionally scarring even with pristine monochromatic lensing from Zach Kuperski. In a very manageable run-time (less than many animated features) an ominous, nightmarish aura hangs over the proceedings with little of the lurid visceral garishness prevalent in the genre (with the exception of a grisly grinding interlude). But, the aftermath of the acts handled by the older Francisca (a fascinating Kika Magalhaes, a Portuguese/American thespian) more than satiates what normally isn't often left out these days.

The eyes have it in My Mother where the big picture doesn't neglect where Francisca came from and how a personality and clinical effeteness can emerge and have the quality of an incendiary, burning flame. Pesce and Magalhaes display much commitment and aplomb given the extremely gloomy nature of the milieu presented as style and character cuts with irreversible, incisive precision.

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The Eyes of My Mother        B-                     B- 

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