Movie review: Julia's Eyes

Melissa Starker, For The Columbus Dispatch

Admirers of "The Orphanage," producer Guillermo del Toro and leading lady Belen Rueda are back with another effective, old-fashioned thriller.

In "Julia's Eyes," Rueda is the title character, a woman investigating the alleged suicide of her twin sister, Sara. Julia, like Sara, has a degenerative eye disease that will leave her blind. Given her faulty vision and agitated emotional state, the police and her husband Isaac (veteran Spanish actor Lluis Homar) find it easy to ignore Julia's suspicions and her belief that she's being followed.

From there, the plot doesn't so much develop as expand into a form that doesn't benefit from the glare of intense scrutiny. But director and co-writer Guillem Morales is adept in this "Wait Until Dark"-like milieu, and narrative shortcomings are balanced against great casting and a fully realized style.

Rueda's a resilient, empathy-generating heroine who's given a healthy share of nail-biting moments. Exquisite cinematography by Oscar Faura - also returning from "The Orphanage" - makes spine-tingling use of shifting points of view, from a third-person perspective to Julia's shadow-filled viewpoint to a look through the eyes of a killer.

And for a certain audience segment, there's the added attraction of Rueda in a wide variety of plunging necklines.

"Julia's Eyes"

Sept. 23, 24, 27, 29 at Gateway Film Center

3 stars out of 4