The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, cult classic Firefly and director of one of the biggest grossing films of all times (The Avengers) has always had
The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, cult classic Firefly and director of one of the biggest grossing films of all times (The Avengers) has always had a penchant for sci-fi. In fact he’s become widely regarded as one of the greatest people to have ever worked in the genre.
He has a fierce cult following (particularly dedicated to his cancelled TV series Firefly) and yet, in recent years he’s taken to directing Shakespeare adaption Much Ado About Nothing; so thoroughly out of his comfort zone that it hardly found an audience.
Where In Your Eyes succeeds is that it is, at least partially, in the genre Whedon’s fans praise him for. Whedon and Director Brin Hill translate a great idea (two strangers who live hundreds of miles apart are connected by what seems to be a telepathic link) into an equally great film. So often interesting premises are let down by weak delivery (In Time) but not so here.
The story evokes something akin to this year’s Oscar Nominee Hero 2012′s Ruby Sparks and strikes a similarly quirky and romantic tone, but where those films had comedy, this has smatterings of action (the odd car chase and bar brawl) and although it is well earned through interesting drama it ultimately leads to a predictable climax.
The film’s two leads Michael Stahl-David and Zoe Kazan (coincidentally the eponymous girl in Ruby Sparks) do have chemistry. Sparks fly, jokes are thrown back and forth and conflict is realistic in their awkward ‘getting to know each other’ conversations.
What the makers have done so well is make us feel as if we’re in on their little secret, we hear and see everything and feel as if we’re integral to bringing these two people together. It is shot in a soft focus at incredibly tight close ups to draw us ever closer to our leads and works tremendously. It is one of the more compelling romantic stories of the last few years.
The problem with a story of this kind though is that it can be very difficult to get over the success of the initial idea. We fall for these characters and how they are entwined in this wonderfully imaginative fantasy but none of the rest of the film lives up to this core idea. Other characters are underused or unimportant and side-stories are often embellishments as opposed to integral.
The end result is, despite all the promise, very much like a run of the mill romantic film. The all-important premise is the only thing which sets it apart from any other decent romantic drama, and when you analyse it properly, you realise that the film wouldn’t actually be that different if the lead characters had met any other way.
Whedon really could have done more daring things with such an interesting idea but it never elevates itself being anything other than an ordinary – but solid – romantic drama.
Kettle rating: 3 of 5 stars
What do you think of this film? Have your say in the comments section below.