Julia's Eyes [Los Ojos de Julia] Movie Review
When her twin commits suicide, Julia (Rueda) finds the official story hard to believe. Her husband (Homar) goes along with her secret investigation, mainly because she's suffering from the same degenerative eyesight that left her sister blind. But Julia sees conspiracies and danger everywhere, all of which is dismissed by the local cop (Orella). Then more people start dying, and Julia continues to have trouble accepting the police's version of events. She finds some comfort from her doctor (Grao) and a hospital aide (Derqui). But the truth is worse than she imagined.
The film is immaculately constructed to put us right into Julia's perspective, seeing everything through shadows, hearing strange noises and catching glimpses of someone pulling the strings behind the scenes. And there's a breathtaking shift in the story's second half that makes this even more enthralling. Like Julia, we want to turn and run away, but we're drawn into danger because we want to know what has really happened. And the final act is a stunner.
Rueda delivers a harrowing central performance with which we can identify at every step. Even when everyone else thinks she's a paranoid nutcase, we know she's telling the truth. Which of course means that we can't trust anyone either, especially as the other actors give wonderfully shaded turns that imply all kinds of subtext and keep us guessing.
Filmmaker Morales has a sure hand, using Hitchcock-style directorial touches to build suspense, twist it and then tighten it until it's almost unbearable.
There are inventively direct references to Psycho, Rear Window and Vertigo, with creepy houses, freaky characters and most notably a gleefully jarring approach to light and sound. And it's great to be in the hands of an expert filmmaker who knows how to take us on a genuinely unnerving journey. These aren't cheap scares; they'll keep you on edge even after the cinema lights come up.