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'Take My Eyes'

Take My Eyes
Directed by Icíar Bollaín
New Yorker, opens March 17

A disturbing take on domestic violence, Take My Eyes follows Pilar (Laia Marull) as she leaves and rejoins her volatile husband, Antonio (Luis Tosar), in an unstoppable vicious circle. Icíar Bollaín's cyclical script (co-written with Alicia Luna) is fraught with inevitability. Antonio isn't entirely unsympathetic, more of a tragic loser than a villainous brute, and we can sense the magnetic pull he exerts over Pilar. (Tosar, Spain's go-to guy for brooding-hunk roles, is brilliantly cast opposite the impressive Marull.) For once, it makes sense that the battered wife always returns to the abusive spouse, even if we don't believe his promises ("I've changed") any more than hers ("I'm never going back"). In fact, the pair's extended family fleshes out a backstory that feeds our worst fears: This couple is fated to keep getting back together. Perfect details abound: Pilar takes a job as a museum guide, describing works by Titian and El Greco that comment on the action like a silent Greek chorus. And the tragedy unfolds within the walled city of Toledo, its medieval ramparts towering at the edge of the frame and confining the characters inside an inescapable trap.


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