Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) Poster

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Better Than It Had To Be
style-231 January 2005
Jon Peters' first production as he transformed himself (with girlfriend Barbra Streisand's help) from hairdresser to movie producer, the movie is a gem of Seventies style at it's finest. The clothes, the hair, makeup, music, attitude, interiors and locations ride the crest of the high-style wave that flooded the world through the Eighties. Combining the improbable worlds of violence and fashion, with a story that centers on a famous photographer (Dunaway) and her ability to *see* her friends and colleagues being stalked and murdered, *Eyes* has moments of serious suspense, but that's hardly the reason to see this movie. Utilizing the actual photography of fashion god Helmut Newton, the film maker has exquisitely captured the 1978 New York fashion and disco scene in a way that none of the recent looks at the Seventies has been able to, but then, again, this movie was *made* in 1978, not 27 years later. The scenes of photo shoots are particularly fun to watch, with one scene portraying a burning car crash in Columbus Circle in which the models, clad in garter belts and fur coats cat-fight before the camera. The ingenuous use of *real* models add the precise amount of vacuity necessary to make the surreal shot work. Another photo shoot involves a model dead from a gunshot to his heart lying in a pool surrounded by exotically dressed disco-dancing models and a throbbing disco beat. The plot is secondary to style in this movie, and style is the only reason this movie should be remembered. Favorite moment: Darlanne Fluegel as the model Lulu haplessly trying to explain to the press *why* violence is important in fashion photos.
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Very well-made supernatural thriller
bd119-214 January 2003
This 1978 chiller directed by Irvin Kerschner (RoboCop 2) and based on a story by John Carpenter, has Faye Dunaway as a fashion photographer who suddenly discovers that she has the ability to "see" through the eyes of a serial killer. All her premonitions of the murders are very accurate, and the victims are all people she knows. Soon it becomes apparent the killer is coming after her. Tommy Lee Jones is great as the police lieutenant/love interest (back when his face wasn't pockmarked with age), and the supporting cast (Raul Julia, Brad Dourif) is excellent. The movie's depictions of the murders were quite shocking for it's day, and it manages to keep us scared and in suspense throughout, though some of the scenes border on grotesque. Direction by Kirschner is tight, music is suitably eery, and the performances are overall impressive. A winner
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A stylish thriller.
Hermit C-21 July 1999
This movie was around for twenty years before I saw it. I recall it as not having the best of reputations. But I found it to be suspenseful and it could be considered a forerunner of today's erotic thrillers.

Faye Dunaway is Laura Mars, a fashion/glamour photographer whose work is controversial in that some say it glorifies both sex and violence towards women. (Sounds like a pretty contemporary theme, doesn't it?) She becomes troubled by frightening visions she has of killers-eye views of murders. When a killing she has just "seen" turns out to have actually happened nearby she tells the police. She then finds out that a detective (Tommy Lee Jones) has already been investigating some cases where murder scenes closely resembled her photos.

Dunaway is always consistent in delivering good performances and this one is no exception. It was refreshing not to see Jones in his "Mr. Intensity" character he's played so often since 'The Fugitive.' Although some will doubtless find flaws to point up here and there, I found the film to be very enjoyable. Brad Dourif, Rene Aberjonois and Raul Julia also star. Irvin Kershner's direction is stylish and John Carpenter is responsible for the story and co-wrote the script.
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A terrific thriller, both gripping and spell-binding
AngryChair2 August 2006
A surprisingly forgotten gem of a psychological thriller, Eyes of Laura Mars is a unique and sophisticated shocker that stands out from the normal variety of thrillers.

NYC fashion photographer is having visions where she sees through the eyes of the murderer that's targeting the people around her. But what will she do when she sees said murderer coming after her?

Eyes of Laura Mars was originally based upon a screenplay by master horror director John Carpenter, which isn't surprising considering just how imaginative and effectively frightening that this film comes off. Yet, Eyes' isn't just a terror film, it's also a film of intriguing mystery, sweeping romance, and well-rounded characters. All of this adds up to an enveloping story that's directed with flair and style by Irvin Kershner. The murder sequences pack plenty of tension, yet they aren't gory. The NYC filming locations are fantastic and allow for some truly breath taking cinematography. While the 70's fashions do date the film, they don't subtract from its over all impact. The soundtrack is composed of some great disco numbers, and the theme song by Barbara Streisand is stunningly good.

The cast is perhaps the best highlight of the film though. Star Faye Dunaway is excellent as always as our understandably disturbed heroine. Tommy Lee Jones is equally excellent as the police detective who falls in love with Dunaway. Rene Auberjonois is plucky as Dunaway's agent. Brad Dourif is good as the shifty-eyed driver, as is Raul Julia as Dunaway's wretched ex-husband.

Eyes of Laura Mars is on a level above the average terror film. It's not only thrilling, but strong enough to be emotionally devastating as well. Well worth finding for thriller and horror fans alike.

*** 1/2 out of ****
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Seeing is believing--looks maybe can't kill!
ResidentHazard31 May 2006
Eyes of Laura Mars -- Horror/Thriller -- 1978

This is an old supernatural thriller of sorts from way back in the 70s'. It revolves around a female fashion/glamour photographer who lives to make crude photographic nudie art that sepcializes in scenes of violence. Some people find her "art" to be rather disturbing and horribly offensive. So someone decides to go around killing her friends and acquaintances. To make matters worse, Laura Mars can see the murders happening--through her own eyes!

Here's the breakdown:

The Good:

--Clever story, and fairly original. Adds a nice twist to the usual cops-hunting-murderer story.

--Good acting all around. Brad Dourif is creepy, Tommy Lee Jones is cool, Raul Julia is... kinda weird...

--Good atmosphere and cinematography all around, with some strong direction. The tense moments are generally pretty well done.

--Some nice, genuine, surprises throughout the film. It does manage to successfully keep you guessing just who the killer is.

Didn't Hurt It, Didn't Help:

--Contains a decent amount of fairly well-known actors including Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif (better known as Chucky from the Child's Play series), Raul Julia, and Rene Auberjonois (famous for his Star Trek: Deep Space Nine role). It was also co-written by John "Halloween" Carpenter.

--Quite a bit of nudity. She is taking pictures of naked "victims of violence" after all.

--Somewhat grotesque 70's music permeates here and there.

--Some decent character development and depth.

The Bad:

--Not quite as scary or riveting as I'm sure it was back in '78. This review being written in 2006.

--Some "logic" problems every now and then. For instance, when Laura Mars sees someone being murdered, that's all she sees--yet there are times when she seems to be able to move around, once even driving a car, with more competence than one would expect from someone who just instantly "went blind."

--Occasional dips in the quality of the atmosphere and writing.

The Ugly:

--The make-up used on the models in the 70's. Holy crap!

Memorable Scene:

--Nice climax to the film.

Fun Fact:

--The photographic art in the film is actually from professional "glamour" photographer Helmut Newton.

Acting: 8/10 , Story: 8/10 , Atmosphere: 7/10 , Cinematography: 8/10 , Character Development: 7/10 , Special Effects/Make-up: 7/10 , Dialog: 7/10 , Music: 6/10 , Direction: 9/10

Nudity/Sexuality: 5/10 , Violence: 6/10 , Gore: 3/10

Cheesiness: 2/10 , Crappiness: 0/10

Overall: 7/10

Finally, I would recommend this to hardcore horror/thriller fans or film buffs. John Carpenter or Tommy Lee Jones fans will likely enjoy it. The movie is not without its problems, small though they are, but may not be enjoyed all that well by many modern viewers.


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I see you too.
Spikeopath14 May 2009
Laura Mars is a very successful fashion photographer who one day starts to get visions of brutal murders being carried out. Troubled and in fear for her sanity, Laura turns to the police for help. But this only adds to her problems as Detective Neville points out to her that the murder scenes bare similarities to some of her staged photographs. The pair of them must figure it out quickly because the murderer is closing in on Laura and those close to her.

In 1978, John Carpenter thrilled horror fans with his baby sitting terror piece, Halloween. Also released was this mystery/thriller/horror film, written by Carpenter and directed by Irvin Kershner {The Empire Strikes Back} which is a film that has been called anything from innovative to outright rubbish. The truth is that where Halloween is a horror film of no character substance, Eyes Of Laura Mars is a completely different animal. It's bright blending of 70s fashion photography with Carpenter's dastardly tale {tho the final draft was tampered by many}, is a success. This is a psychological thriller first and foremost, yes horror elements are there {it's a done deal with a serial killer on the loose}, but running alongside a clever romantic angle, the film gains an intensity that few other 70s psychological thrillers can boast.

The cast, other than an insipidly hammy Raul Julia, also come out rather well. Faye Dunaway {Mars}, Tommy Lee Jones {Neville}, Brad Dourif {horror staple that he is} and Rene Auberjonois give credit to well formed characters. Technically it's a fine picture as well, Irvin Kershner and his cinematographer Victor J. Kemper excellently utilise the New York City location. Especially during the fashion shoot sequences, where the 70s and its glamour is fully realised. "Innovated" blurred corridor shots to portray Laura's terrible visions are creepy and highly effective, while i would be surprised if anyone doubted the impact of a mirror shot in the glorious finale.

Thought by many to have not aged well, Eyes Of Laura Mars is often consigned to the cupboard marked "dated", that's unfair because good thrillers are good thrillers, regardless of age. Emotionally strong and pulsing with imminent terror, this is a badly undervalued, and forgotten picture. 8/10
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Close but no cigar
Bjorn (ODDBear)13 July 2005
I saw Eyes of Laura Mars a few years ago and just watched it again very recently. I remembered it as being fantastic but upon watching it again I was a little disappointed. It's a solid film, by no means bad, it's just nothing all that special.

For the past 3 years or so I've been totally hooked on giallo's and this film plays in a lot of ways like an homage to those Italian thrillers. Touches here and there remind you of Dario Argento (obsessive mirror imagery, Laura's visions etc.), Lucio Fulci, Sergio Martino and Mario Bava, such as the model settings and murder scenarios. While this film scores heavy on style (and music, though I find this soundtrack a bit hokey, but generally OK) it just lacks the magic that the best giallo's seem to have. The plot, while intriguing enough, is not nearly played out to it's full potential. There are gripping scenes here to be sure, but the film drags quite a bit and nothing virtually happens for a long period of time.

For seasoned giallo fans, we know the killer is most definitely gonna be the most unlikely one, and for a lack of suspects, I didn't find it hard to figure out who was guilty, but there's pretty much no logic to support it (but that's a giallo trademark, a pro rather than a con actually). For me, the problem is that this film doesn't have the same trashy feel and atmosphere as the best Italian thrillers it seems to be imitating. In a lot of ways I like this film, certain scenes are truly gripping but there's simply something lacking. Being a huge fan of John Carpenter, I can't help but think what he could have done had he directed this. He came up with the story and shares the credits as the writer of the screenplay and what's more, he loves the Italian giallo films as well. His own homage to the genre; Someone's Watching Me, the little known TV film was terrific and you could see that he definitely had the feel for the genre and could easily translate it to American settings. I don't feel that Kershner, as good a director as he is, has the same love for the genre as Carpenter.

I recommend watching it, it scores on a number of levels.
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A decent thriller with a predictable twist... But good tunes & decent performances help, too....
LeathermanCraig29 January 2002
Sure.... Compared to the thrillers of today - it just can't compare. It seems low budget and 3rd world in quality. But it's got so much more beneath the surface.

The plot is simple - a 'High Fashion' photographer (Laura Mars) begins to have visions of brutal murders - both when sleeping and while awake. Some of these visions begin to seep into her work and her images. But soon, the visions begin to include many of her friends, acquaintances and co-workers. A homicide detective (John Neville) assigned to the case begins hanging around and trying to solve the case, including the murders involving Laura's friends. Many of Laura's friends & acquaintances get killed along the way, leaving her emotionally bereft and open to Neville's advances. I won't blow the end of the film (as others may) by giving away the twists and turns.

There are a few decent performances in the movie - including Rene Auberjunois as Laura's 'flamboyantly flaming' manager, assistant and best friend. And, how he can wear a dress....

This stylish & sometimes sexy thriller is an 8 of 10 when the age of the flick comes into consideration. Decent plot, decent acting and decent twists. And, I am sorry, but Barbara Streisand's opening song still stands as one of my all time favorite songs.... Speaking of the opening, the opening credits of the film are kinda creepy and chilling. Go rent it and decide for yourself!
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Period piece
sreed9934213 October 2005
"Eyes of Laura Mars" is a fun late-70s period piece. Lots of disco-era clothing, glossy lipliner and feathered hair. It's famous primarily for its title song, "Prisoner," which became a hit single for Barbra Streisand.

Plotwise, it's pretty severely lacking. The murders keep things moving, but the movie fails to address several key questions -- WHY does Laura Mars have her visions? How does it happen? Raul Julia is wasted on a minor role, and performances by Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones wouldn't win any Oscars.

But all in all, it's worth a rental.
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Everyone Loves Faye but Me
WisdomsHammer28 September 2013
I understand that this was filmed and set in the 70s in New York and I think it's meant to mirror some of the avant garde style of that time and locale, but I couldn't stand Faye's acting style in this film. Her character is supposed to be a strong, successful, visionary/controversial photographer. She seemed to start many scenes playing just that, but would then quickly fall to pieces and appear to not know where she was, what she was doing, or how to answer a simple question. This happens over and over. I felt like I was watching over- acting from the 40s.

The rest of the cast saved it for me. Especially Brad Dourif and Tommy Lee Jones.

I liked the general story and premise, but even at only 104 minutes, it felt drawn-out.

A lot of people seem to think the ending was predictable. It caught me pleasantly by surprise!

I doubt as many people will be as put off as I was by Faye's acting in this particular film, so I would recommend this with my own reservations. I love supernatural movies and whodunits, and this was an interesting combination of both. It is definitely dated, though. Good luck.
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"Eyes of Laura Mars" reveal more mystery,suspense than what ordinary mortals can comprehend. Who knows what those eyes are trying to see ?
FilmCriticLalitRao16 January 2009
In 1978 when "Eyes of Laura Mars" was released,it was hailed by both critics and public alike as an innovative super natural thriller but it is certainly much more than a popular film belonging to thriller genre.It is one of those films which continue to remain highly influential due to the times in which they were shot.There is hardly anyone who does not know about the swinging seventies and its importance in the history of American cinema.The fact that famous Hollywood actors like Tommy Lee Jones and Faye Dunaway played leading roles in this film have ensured that this is a film whose popularity has grown tremendously over the years as people seem to find new meanings and personal interpretations of what they see through the eyes of the leading lady character.Eyes of Laura Mars is also one of the most vivid,psychedelic glimpses into the realms of fashion and glamor industry where gorgeous models and innovative designers have definitely more foes than friends.It must be mentioned that the haughty arrogant of police bother them as they do not seem to get preferential treatment at police headquarters solely on the basis of their glamor and charisma.As far as the thriller element of this film is concerned,director Irvin Kershner gives too many frequent albeit severe doses of shocks to his audience.This is one of the reasons why in the end,the film's obnoxious killer turns out to be the man whom the crowd had least expected to commit savage atrocities against helpless beautiful women.A final word of advice.Do not be astonished if this film fails to impress you.
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Cyclops in Sable
ptb-831 January 2006
Please let this be remade as the ZOOLANDER sequel with Derek in the Faye Dunaway role and Faye returning as the killer....please please please. EYES OF LAURA MARS as we all know is a murder in furs drama with Joan Crawford...er Faye Dunaway dropping her NETWORK Oscar long enough to recommence more schlock, but this time with a camera. Rather like the Brit horror PEEPING TOM where the killer films his victims, she instead, SIXTH SENSE-less style sees the point of view death through eeeeeeeeek! the killer's own eyes.... basically "she sees dead models". Sadly, Columbia saw dead ticket sales. EYES OF LAURA MARS is a so bad it's good drama like WHITE MISCHIEF dripping this time with blood as swell as chic 70s glam. See! squabbling models ripping furs off each other at a car accident, blazing dashboards and flying pearls, stilettos and painted claws.... fantastic and all played for real d-r-a-m-a when suddenly (zing!-zing! Psycho music) and Faye as Laura is distracted from her lens to see ....eeeeek a-nother killing! Get friends over, get tipsy and add your own dialog!
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Some twists, but a dull job directing a pretty racy scenario
secondtake9 January 2010
The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

A thriller with a twist (of course) but depending too much on the first impression of that twist, and not developing it as we go. What always pains me about thrillers like this is they assume we are happy to watch and have things unfold for us, without our involvement. Not that we aren't shocked by blood and death, but we are not given clues or hints, even false hints, to make us start to figure out what is going on and who did what. Instead, we just watch another and another of these quirky awful murders. And watching isn't enough. This isn't a terrible movie, but it has the aura of something more original and special. Expect a common murder spree with a romance thrown in and you'll enjoy it.

There might be a hidden (and unintended) metaphor in the film about us as consumers watching the unapproachable supermodels who are the underlying landscape of the film. Echoes of Jack the Ripper are faint and cheap. And women, over and over again (as with lots of 1970s movies) are just eye candy, both as actresses and as models for the photography. Throw in glamorized murder, and you have what could have been a disturbing and brilliant film. But far from it.

Beauty is what it is, but Faye Dunaway struts as if she's the creme de la creme, and in fact her stiff haughtiness bleeds into her part. Some depth and surprise in her performance would have helped a lot. It's fun seeing Tommy Lee Jones in a young, hunky role, and he's pretty good, if not loosened up and amazing as he would later be.

A lot of this might be traced to the director, who, like it or not, is responsible for pulling it all together and getting the most out of everyone. Irvin Kerschner has a short resume and no particular style. The trick of this film, the photographer's visions, are scary and a little inventive, but their effect is dampened by effects. That is, the visual dimming and blurring is what it is, easily digested, and the events don't add up to anything more than just a quick murder each time. No fun at all, and slightly sad.

The photography itself? It looks like slick Helmut Newton (Newton was slick of course, but with a wiry edge to his setups) and it makes me think of Ellen Von Untwerth, who made shocking scenes pretty in the same kind of way. Ah, I read now the photos were by Newton with the help of Rebecca Blake, who I've never heard of. Newton was famous for his misogynist and high brow fashion work, often using nudity beyond the norm for his days (in the 1960s and 70s). Any critique of that kind of abusive photography one might read into the movie is blunted by the fact that the photographer here is a woman.

In the end, the movie survives on style, and it does have a really nice feel to it, not in how it was filmed, but in the subject matter.
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Preposterous, lowbrow sleaze
T Y3 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In the latter '70s, the cognoscenti made a losing bet that the next development in the sexual revolution would be the mainstreaming of sleaze; Bob Guccione, Caligula, Cruising, Eyes of Laura Mars and even a 'Village People' album entitled "Live and Sleazy" were all duds. Most people, it turns out, do not openly self-identify as 'sleazy.'

Laura Mars is a sleazy hybrid which imagines that Helmut Newton and Encyclopedia Brown occupy the same universe. The plot and its insipid characters are not worth describing. The movie is peopled with inarticulate, posturing cynics who are too shallow to be able to explain why they are, except maybe to sheepishly admit that cynical is the new black. The movie is objectionable not because it's about turning people into products, but because it turns film into a product to meet prurient interests, without one ounce of intelligence; inserting the merest excuse of thriller plotting, to make your attendance excusable. Sleaze consumption is the whole show, the theme and the meaning. The characters are all interested in consuming sleaze, just as you the viewer are made to when you watch this.

How does an actor go from excellent work like 'Chinatown' and 'Network' to 'Laura Mars' and 'Mommie Dearest' w/o having contempt for themselves? I'm not sure, but by 1978 Faye Dunaway was in full-scale retreat from depth, success and class. The script is by John Carpenter, and it was produced by hair-stylist Jon Peters. That's really scraping. The only way it could be more putrid is if Joel Schumacher directed it; since he went on to direct a resume full of similar garbage. Can you imagine being Joe Eszterhaus, and looking up to schlock like this? This is not the dumbest movie ever made, but it would easily make a list of the top hundred movies which aim the lowest. The vapid hedonists shown here could never imagine that their sexy lives would result in them fighting for their Medicare in 2009.
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Predictable and badly plotted 'suspense' thriller
The_Void21 September 2005
Eyes of Laura Mars isn't a very well known film, and there's a good reason for that; it's not very good. The premise isn't bad, and there are a few good ideas; but the execution is poor on the whole, and for every idea that does work; there's at least three that don't. Take the main idea for example - the plot follows Laura Mars; a New York artist who has blackouts, during which she witnesses the murderous rampages of the local serial killer. We then follow her and her policeman boyfriend as they try to track down the killer from her visions. Now, this is all well and good, but the film has completely forgotten to explain WHY this is happening to her, thus making it really hard for the audience to care about the plot. It didn't come as a surprise to me to find that John Carpenter wrote the script. After that, many other areas of the film aren't explained properly. The movie throws caution to the wind where characters are concerned, and they are merely a product of the plot itself, rather than the plot being impacted by the characters. This is a guaranteed formula for a cold audience, as it's hard to care anyway; but when it doesn't even give you reason to care for the characters themselves, it's too easy to switch off.

Faye Dunaway has starred in some big films, such as Chinatown and Bonnie and Clyde; but her performance here isn't up there with those films. To be fair, she isn't given much to do - but despite convincing as New Yorker, she cant get into her character and on the whole, her performance isn't the work of a great actress. Tommy Lee Jones would go on to find real fame after this film, so it's a good job that he had some better roles later on, as his performance here is unlikely to have gained him many plaudits. Cult actor Brad Dourif rounds off the central core of actors and he, as usual, stands out the most. Also as usual, his performance isn't anything like brilliant; but Dourif knows how to entertain. The final nail in the coffin for this film is definitely the final twist. Usually, I have to start watching a film before the twist becomes guessable; but I guessed this one before I even saw the movie. Just reading the plot synopsis makes it obvious. On the whole, this film isn't a complete dead loss and if you like your supernatural thrillers, there may be something here. Just be prepared to allow it some room in the credibility department.
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A gory, sick geek show of a movie
jrs-824 January 2006
"Eyes of Laura Mars" is a disturbingly violent geek show of a movie. Laura is a kinky fashion photographer who starts getting visions of brutal, violent murders as they occur. So when she sees them we get to see them to through the eyes of the killer. Instead of the old Hitchcock standby of making the first murder violent and then keeping the audience on edge the rest of the film without showing much of anything, this films murders get worse and worse. It's disgusting without being the least bit stylish.

Faye Dunaway makes her first film appearance after winning the Oscar for Network here and for the life of me I cannot figure out why she would have taken the part on. Perhaps the original spec script called "Eyes" by John Carpenter was something other then this. Or, and most likely this is the case, she got a huge payday as Oscar winners do and took the money and ran. She looks great but the character is one dimensional and she gapes and gasps and cries a lot. At some point you just want someone to slug her.

The supporting cast is headed by Tommy Lee Jones as the lead detective on the murder cases. Jones is passable but his character is dumb. He makes decisions that a good detective wouldn't make. Brad Dourif began his string of eccentric characters as one of Laura's assistants. Gee do you think he will be a suspect in the murders? As far as the "mystery" goes there really isn't much of one. If you pay any attention to the film the identity of the killer is easy to figure out within the first 30 minutes of the movie. Unfortunately we then have to sit through another 60 minutes of blood, gore and violence waiting to get to its predictable conclusion. "Eyes of Laura Mars" is not a pretty film to watch.
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Looking through the eyes of her Faye-Ness
mark.waltz6 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In this violent, sado-masochistic thriller, then recent Oscar Winner Faye Dunaway ("Network") began her descent into decline with a role that, in spite of its juiciness, is defeated by a rather absurd premise and an even more ridiculous conclusion. Faye does an outstanding job as the Mahogany of photography who can see murders in her mind's eye as they happen, but is helpless to stop them. She plays a totally sympathetic character practically unlike any role she played during this era ("Voyage of the Damned" being possibly the only other role), extremely as far away from her neurotic character in "Chinatown" and the power-hungry executive in "Network". She is as far from her infamous role of "Mommie Dearest" as she can get, although she reminds me a lot of Miss Joan Crawford in a 1952 thriller called "Sudden Fear".

Top billed leading male Tommy Lee Jones plays a cop who decides to protect her and eventually falls in love with her. The supporting cast is filled with interesting performances, particularly Rene Auberjonois as a stereotypical gay assistant, obviously modeled on Clifton Webb in "Laura". Raul Julia and Brad Dourif add some creepy performances as well. Stage and soap actress Meg Mundy has a nice brief role as one of the victims. Views of New York City in the late '70s are quite well filmed, and you won't soon forget the shot of Columbus Circle with two women clad only in their scanties and mink coats going at it after a faked car accident while Dunaway snaps away. Add on a spicy Barbra Streisand song ("Prisoner") as well as some disco hits of the day. But a lack of cohesion and the final revelation both dates and destroys the credibility that earlier parts of the film had developed earlier. Try not to compare this to some of Hitchcock's later films and sexual thrillers of the 1980's and 90's like "Fatal Attraction", "Sea of Love", and especially "Basic Instinct".
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"If you love me, kill him".
classicsoncall20 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The Seventies seemed to be a time for film makers to push the envelope by shocking viewers and challenging mainstream perceptions with stylized treatments of sex and violence. Other movies that come to mind are 1971's "Klute" and 1977's "Looking for Mr. Goodbar". I would even throw 1970's "Joe' into that mix with it's take on free love and nudity. What's kind of funny as I watched the picture today on cable, was that the exposed breasts of women in Laura Mars' photos were uncensored, but the ones on the live models were. What's the point of that?

There's that other element that gets some treatment from the newspaper reporter in the story speculating on whether the gallery photo exhibit has a desensitizing effect on society, and might possibly be the cause of some deranged killer who gets inspired by the titillation of sex and violence together. There are those, primarily in the position of making these pictures, that think that's all hogwash, but why wouldn't a rational person make the same observation. Sometimes bad ideas get their start in a subliminal way.

Anyway, this was a fair enough thriller. Trying to figure out the murderer in a murder mystery can often be a challenging exercise, but this film tried too hard to pin the crimes on Brad Dourif's character, so I had him dismissed right off. That John Neville (Tommy Lee Jones) turned out to be the killer in Laura's visions wasn't a complete surprise, though the picture could have better explored at which point in his life Neville went completely off the rails. The confrontational scene in which Laura realizes in horror that John is a madman was handled well, I was patiently waiting for her to pull the trigger and she didn't let me down. Good job, Laura.
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Disco De Palma from the director of Robocop 2
FlashCallahan22 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Laura Mars is a very successful fashion and advertising photographer.

Whilst at one her art launches, Detective John Neville notes striking similarities between her art photos and those of actual crime scenes.

Although suspicious of her, he soon realises that she hasn't been involved in any of the crimes but can see what is happening through the eyes of the killer.

After her friends and some of her models are killed, she joins forces with the future U.S. Marshal to identify the killer before she is next.......

It's a silly movie for sure, the majority of the film from a characters point of view is seeing Dunaway/Mars taking lots of photos of scantily clad ladies before standing there silently for a few minutes and then running off without explanation. Ironically, if we saw the film form someone else's point of view, it would have made for a more tense thriller.

But this is high concept for you, and knowing that De Palma was doing good things homaging Hitchcock, Kershner must have wanted a taste before hitting the heady heights of Star Wars, Bond, Robotic Police, and..................Seaquest DSV.

And for the most part, it's pretty entertaining, having the plethora of red herrings thrown at the screen is always a camp treat, but I'm sure it would have been more fun back on its initial release, as I'm sure Dourif wouldn't have been a suspect as soon as we saw him, because Child's Play was ten years away.

Sub characters are the archetypes you would expect when the film focuses on the upper class, all la dee dar, and abhorrent toward one another, Laura aside, you couldn't really care less who out of her group is next.

Jones is good, he's just a younger Gerrard in this, and he steals the film from anyone, thanks to his intense performance.

If your a fan of this type of sub genre, you can see the ending coming quite soon into the films second act, but the outcome is quite entertaining.

And it has a soundtrack that could rival Saturday Night Fever.

Not brilliant by any means, but it's a lot of fun.
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I spy...with Laura's little eye...a WEAK thriller!
Coventry19 May 2006
There are a lot of things that can go wrong in cinema, even in cases where the persons initially involved are very talented and the basic story ideas show a lot of great potential. "Eyes of Laura Mars" is the perfect example to state this. The supernatural premise, penned down by no less than John Carpenter ("Halloween", "Assault on Precinct 13"), is undoubtedly intriguing and rich on artistic opportunities, yet due to an incredible amount of production difficulties and constant re-writings of the script, it ended up being a hopelessly muddled and disappointing thriller. Carpenter gave up when he saw that his original idea got slowly turned into a gimmicky mystery, revolving more on the glossy charisma of its lead actress than on the actual trump of film: a series of bizarre murders in the world of professional photography. Faye Dunaway stars as the female version of the controversial real-life "artist" Helmut Newton and exhibits shock-provoking photos that portray death, mayhem and prostitution in New York City. Suddenly and for reasons that remain unexplained, she can witness with her own eyes how a gloved serial killer brutally stabs her closest friends & co-workers to death. Laura's descriptions appear identical to how the murders were committed and thus the handsome Detective John Neville personally takes pity on her, as she unquestionably will become the killer's main target. Experienced horror/thriller fans that are slightly familiar with Italian cinema will immediately spot the similarities between this film and the typical gialli (= violent Italian murder-mysteries) of 70's and early 80's. "Eyes of Laura Mars" contains multiple trademarks of the giallo, but sadly lacks the stuff that makes them so fantastic, namely bloody gore and sleaze. Style & substance characteristics are definitely well presented: bizarre title, far fetched psychic sub plots, implausible red herrings left and right, an insane denouement, silly music… You almost get the impression that producer Jon Peters WANTED to make an American attempt to giallo but eventually didn't had the courage to make it as demented as it should be! "Eyes of Laura Mars" is a tedious and slow-paced film, with cast-members that perform below their normal skill and a director that didn't really knew what he was doing. And then still we have to be grateful that Barbra Streisand didn't play the lead role, as it was intended before Dunaway took over…
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Unusual and interesting
preppy-34 February 2006
Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway) is a photographer who pictures are full of violence and female nudity--and very controversial and popular. All of the sudden her friends are being stabbed to death--in the eyes. However she (literally) sees her friends being killed through the killers eyes--but doesn't know who it is or why it's happening...

I never saw the movie when it came out--it was R rated and I was too young to get in. However I read a VERY good novelization of the book and never forgot it. Also, surprisingly, Barbra Streisand sang the song "Prisoner" over the opening and closing credits probably thinking it would be a hit--it wasn't. She probably did it because then boyfriend Jon Peters was one of the producers of this film. In a nice touch a piano player plays the song in the background at a party.

Finally seeing the film now it's not bad. I knew who the killer was and why (the book has never left me) so there was no surprise. I was able to sit back and see if it worked--and it did. I thought the killings might be gory but they are actually very tame--you never really see (sorry) anything. And having Dunaway see it also is very interesting. In one very effective sequence the killer is chasing Dunaway and she sees herself being chased by him! I liked it but it's a bit depressing--basically EVERYONE Dunaway knew is killed by the end! Also she has an incredible apartment (love the mirrors in the bedroom) and the picture of the book on her is great--and was also used as the movie poster. And John Carpenter wrote the story! Dunaway is just great in a difficult role; Raul Julia is good in a small role and so is Rene Auberjonois. Unfortunately Tommy Lee Jones is terrible (as always) as a policeman trying to solve the case.

All in all a pretty good thriller worth catching.
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Has a foreboding presence and some intriguing ideas
moonspinner5528 June 2003
Faye Dunaway is an icy, Gothic presence as New York City fashion photographer Laura Mars, stooping and gliding in her chiffon wraps while taking pictures with sexy and violent themes for magazine layouts and chic advertisements. She and her colorful troupe are being stalked by a psychopath (who likes to poke out eyes), and it turns out Laura can also occasionally 'see' through the killer's eyes (in a happenstance that isn't explained--and no one would dare try!). Cinematographer Victor J. Kemper does admirably gritty location work, though the decadent-'70s proceedings are sometimes coated with beige or rosy hues which soften the suspense. Dunaway is a terrific screamer--an equally fine moaner--and if there's an actress whose eyes can give good close-ups, look to Faye. Tommy Lee Jones as police lieutenant (with shaggy hair and a unibrow) is still pretty green here, but he acquits himself nicely in his scenes with Dunaway. Their blossoming relationship had promise, but the patchy screenplay, co-written by John Carpenter and David Zelag Goodman, is a mass of ghoulishness. ** from ****
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Eyes of Laura Mars
Coxer9913 May 1999
Shocking thriller that stars Dunaway as a photographer with premonitions of murder. A wonderful score, exceptional editing and an eerie pace set beautifully by director Kershner. Raul Julia co-stars.
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Watching it almost 40 years later, things have changed
christopher-underwood4 December 2017
I saw this back in the day and have always spoken up for what seemed always to be an underrated film. Watching it almost 40 years later, things have changed. I am now viewing this after exposure to any, many Italian giallo. If someone had mentioned back in the 70s that this had been inspired by the genre, I would have perhaps been able to seek them out without having to wait some 25 years. So, what we have here is, possibly the only example of an American giallo, although one might be tempted to consider some of the work of De Palmer and Verhoeven. Unfortunately, what seemed at the time innovative and stylish, lacks the razzmatazz of the Italian product. And for all the Helmut Newton imagery and the models in (and out) of their finery, this lacks, for want of a better word, balls. There is no edge, it is ponderous and lacks the courage of its convictions. It starts well enough but fades badly despite the excellent performance of Tommy Lee Jones and perhaps partly because of a very lacklustre one from Faye Dunaway.
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nice middling thriller
SnoopyStyle3 December 2017
Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway) is a celebrated fashion photographer. She is haunted by visions from a killer's eyesight. At her gala, she encounters police detective John Neville (Tommy Lee Jones) who hates the photos of violence against semi-nude women without knowing it's her. Those around her are killed and Neville investigates. Her pictures seem to mimic real crime scenes. Tommy Ludlow (Brad Dourif) is her driver. Donald Phelps (René Auberjonois) is her manager. Michael Reisler (Raul Julia) is her possessive ex-husband.

The killer's vision needs better consistency. It's mostly first person POV except sometimes it goes up to the murder weapon. It becomes more traditional but it needs to stay with the first person POV. Otherwise, it's a nice premise and the visual mostly works. It has blood and gore but like the photos, they are too stagey. The first thing that caught my eye is the writing credit for John Carpenter. This is pre-Halloween by a couple of months. If it somehow got released after Halloween, I'm sure they would have promoted Carpenter's script to death and it would be an even bigger hit. The great cast is doing good work. There is a twist that seems more for twist's sake. This is a nice middling mystery thriller although the pacing is not always that thrilling.
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