Eye of the Storm -- Film Review

Benjamin Walker
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NEW YORK - OCTOBER 13:  Actor Benjamin Walker attends the "Bloody Bloody Jackson" opening night after party at Brasserie 8 1/2 on October 13, 2010 in New York City.

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CANNES -- It's clear that first-time Brazilian director Eduardo Valente has done his homework on all the films, like "Amores Perros," with impenetrable, disparate narratives that finally come together at the end. However, this sort of thing is easier to study than to pull off, and Valente, obviously a promising talent, doesn't manage it in "Eye of the Storm." Commercial prospects are slim or nonexistent, but the next time you see this director's name attached to a film, go see it.

"Eye of the Storm" begins with a semi-rousing action scene in which a policeman accidentally kills a man being held hostage. What follows is a series of (seemingly) utterly unrelated glimpses into the exceedingly banal domestic life of four different families. We watch with increasing irritation as unknown people keep asking each other how they are, and keep being reassured that "everything is fine."

These short scenes of everyday life gradually, very gradually, begin to cohere in small ways that may keep the hardiest of viewers going. By the end of the film we come to realize that three or four of the stories we've been following actually precede the opening scene, while the central story line, that of the policeman, follows it.

Figuring all this out is much less fun than it sounds. The vast majority of the individual scenes are not emphatic enough to hold a viewer's interest, and lethargy quickly sets it. When the mediocre payoff finally comes, it's not worth all the work that you've had to put into it.