Eye for an Eye review – Travolta goes sleuthing in Texas

Hardboiled private eye John Travolta tussles with corrupt casino owner Morgan Freeman in a thriller whose biggest mystery is its plot

John Travolta stars in this ridiculous and mostly boring hardboiled thriller (AKA The Poison Rose), playing a private detective investigating the disappearance of a woman from a psychiatric hospital. The web of interlinked crimes he unravels barely makes any sense and there are some epically pointless plot twists – one left me so baffled that I wondered if I might’ve momentarily nodded off and missed a scene. It’s a film with no energy, not much pace and few signs of life. It’s exhausting to watch.

Travolta goes beyond “world-weary” to give an almost vegetative performance as Carson Phillips, a PI in the poker-playing, bourbon-drinking tradition. In his youth, Phillips was the star quarterback on the local football team but skipped town after a scandal. Back in Texas for the first time in a couple of decades, he gets short shrift at the hospital where the patient has vanished. The doctor in charge (Brendan Fraser) shiftily evades his inquiries and the nurses shoot each other alarmed looks. Morgan Freeman plays casino owner Doc, the richest man in town and clearly not to be trusted. (Like everyone else here, Freeman puts his feet up, taking a breather from doing decent acting.)

Wouldn’t you know, it turns out the town is riddled with crime, corrupt to the core. Phillips repeatedly drawls on the voiceover that he’s a sucker for a beautiful woman with a sob story – so inevitably one of the dead bodies is linked to his teenage sweetheart whose daughter (played by the actor’s daughter Ella Bleu Travolta) is accused of murder. It’s a preposterous plot, with a damp-squib ending, and like an episode of Dallas, the dialogue gets phonier and phonier. “This is a bad place. Far worse than you can imagine.” Ditto the film.

• Released on 5 February on Amazon Prime Video.


Cath Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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