A butcher lives in an ultra-orthadox Jewish community. He is a very religious man who is dedicated to his wife and children. He is also gay.
A gay Jewish student arrives in town. He doesn’t know much about being a butcher, but the first man gives him a job anyway because he seems nice. Despite the fact that he is very nice, no one else in town seems to like him much. They think that two men who spend too much time alone in butcher’s shops are sinners. The two men have a very difficult decision to make.
You may have found my brief synopsis rather boring, but at least it didn’t take 91 minutes to read.
Eyes Wide Open is a worthy piece which has some very important issues on its radar, unfortunately these issues are unlikely to get the exposure they deserve because the film itself is so brain-bashingly boring. Consequently, in creating such a relentlessly dull feature, director Haim Tabakman may have missed a golden opportunity to blow an incendiary theme into the mainstream. Protracted silences and emotional vacuums haunt his debut terribly – the script is not so much bad, as utterly insubstantial and each scene assaults you like session of A-Level maths revision.
The subject matter – two men battling to stay loyal both to their faith and themselves while an unsympathetic community begin to reject them – is a strong one, but this illustration is simply too tame to make the message stick with any kind of conviction. You don’t really care about these men because they show very little evidence of caring about themselves.
As the film built very slowly, I was yearning for the strain (which I assumed these characters must have been feeling) to reach boiling point. At least then we might be treated to some – indeed any – sort of out-pouring which would at least bring some relevance to my not insubstanstantial efforts to resist an onrushing coma. Sadly it was not forthcoming, a film which had understated itself throughout, excelled itself once again.