A crime drama that is as interminable (and as pretentious) as its title, IN THE KINGDOM OF THE BLIND, THE MAN WITH ONE EYE IS KING is ambitious in its themes--including family loyalty, betrayal, and redemption--but sadly lacking in quality. Al Scarano, a police detective in Paramus, NJ, is trying to stay honest on the job. He has a beautiful suburban home,...read more
A crime drama that is as interminable (and as pretentious) as its title, IN THE KINGDOM OF THE BLIND, THE MAN WITH ONE EYE IS KING is ambitious in its themes--including family loyalty, betrayal, and redemption--but sadly lacking in quality.
Al Scarano, a police detective in Paramus, NJ, is trying to stay honest on the job. He has a beautiful suburban home, two lovely children, and a sexy wife who wants him to give up his dangerous job. One night, a romantic interlude between Al and his wife is interrupted by a disturbing phone call
from an old connection, Mafioso "Tony C," who summons Al to his headquarters in a New York City restaurant. There, Al gets the bad news that his estranged younger brother, Rudy, a petty hoodlum, and two friends have been seen leaving the house in which a murder has been committed. The victim is
the brother of a Mafia don and Tony C is determined to use Al to track down the murderers, in exchange for Rudy's life.
Events lead to a showdown in an abandoned garage, where Al confronts his brother and the two friends, one of whom is the murderer. Rudy bitterly accuses Al of repeatedly demeaning and betraying him in the past. However, Al responds with a different version--he has compromised his own moral code to
protect Rudy's life. In a violent denouement, Al protects his wayward brother from the Mafia, but pays with his own life.
While it may admirable that this 99-minute crime drama is large in its ambitions, intent alone cannot make up for the fact that it is wholly unable to execute them. The most obvious example of this is the lengthy and mysterious crucifixion scene with which the movie opens and which features a
ponderous and cliched monologue by the crucifier: "From slave to king, no man is better than the rest...I can't save you. No one on this earth has the power to save anyone." The characters from this torturous opening do not reappear in the film, and the scene's relevance--aside from some sort of
mythical universalizing of the idea that Al cannot save Rudy--is never clearly explained.
Moreover, the film's central drama, the relationship between the brothers, sinks beneath the weight of stereotyped characterizations, perplexing plot twists, and hackneyed dialogue. (For instance, Al proclaims, "Nobody goes to jail for being a good citizen," and a hoodlum wonders out loud, "This
is murder, man! We are definitely, definitely gonna get caught!") In this film there is neither enough action nor range of emotion to hold the viewer's attention for long. And the film's stars--Michael Beihn, Leo Rossi, William Peterson, and Paul Winfield--are given little to work with (especially
Winfield, who is cast as Papa Joe, a black mobster who wears a white suit, rides in a white stretch limousine, and wants to do business with "the Eye-talians"). Best advice: skip it, unless you're really into crucifixion scenes, and even you'd do better to rent THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST
instead.(Graphic violence, sexual situations, profanity.)
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