Eye of God (T. Nelson, 1997)

Eye of God (Tim Blake Nelson, 1997)

It seems like a lot of actors’ directorial debuts are really good. Tim Blake Nelson’s Eye of God is no exception. Set in a rural Oklahoma town, this film centers around a relationship between a local girl and recently paroled, born-again ex-convict. The film deals with a lot themes – love, faith, reform, loss. Nelson doesn’t shy away from tough situations, and he doesn’t glorify his characters into unrealistic beings. Everyone has strengths and everyone has flaws. As the story comes together, I even felt sympathy towards the ‘bad guy’ as his life spirals downward. The biggest flaw might have been the treatment of this character at this point, though, as it kind of felt like Nelson wanted us to drop all sympathy for him, which is strange considering how much care was put into the writing of these characters outside of that.


The performances are all great, which seems to be typical when an actor is directing. Martha Plimpton and Nick Stahl are especially good. The film’s editing is also fantastic. The story is told non-linearly, which I like. Though the sound editing might be its best feature. There are instances where a character will be speaking and we are cut to images around town, then cut back to the conversation at hand. My description doesn’t make this sound like anything special, but this effect adds a layer of poetry to the film, enhancing its overall quality.  9/10


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