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Case Number 21172: Small Claims Court

Damn Your Eyes

Target Films // 2009 // 20 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron (Retired) // April 21st, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge Bill Gibron often rides tall in the saddle.

The Charge

God Forgives. Sam Doesn't.

The Case

In a one horse western town, a bunch of saloon dogs run into a mysterious man (Jacob Von Eichel, Law and Order) with a surly drawl and a hat pulled way down over his eyes. One joke about his order of goat's milk later, and there's blood as well as bottom of the barrel whiskey all over the creaky wooden floor. When the Sheriff (Ray Reynolds, Watching the Detectives) arrives, he is told about the desperado, as well as his spoken desire to find someone named "Scott" (Angelo Angrisani, A Safe House). Turns out the stranger' name is Sam, and he is looking for the man who murdered his family and left him horribly handicapped, and he's willing to meter out vengeance with a rapid six-shooter. With the help of a trusting prostitute (Marisa Costa, Fray), our angry anti-hero begins a journey through the darkest reaches of his moral soul, and…ummm…

Like the opening chapter of an intriguing novel without any more prose to experience, David Guglielmo's Damn Your Eyes is a fulfilling if ultimately frustrating experience. It's quite good, rather well done, and comes across as both reverent of its source as well as willing to try and make its own mark. Yes, it owes more than a debt of cinematic gratitude to the spaghetti style of oater from decades back, and it's not quite willing to go all the way into Homage-ville as something like The Legend of God's Gun. Indeed, this is more in keeping with classics by Clint that wander wildly over into the territory of Jodorowsky's El Topo. Still, Guglielmo makes the concept his own, offering an engaging set-up. It's just too bad that, at 20 minutes, there's not more here. We are curious where Sam will go next, the Sherriff's continuing connection to the man, and the evil that drives Scott to his horrific acts. None of that is here. Instead, this is strictly a resume reel, a way of showing potential investors and distributors what the filmmaker and his cast are capable of. So far, so good.

From a visual standpoint, the DV-R sent to DVD Verdict looked very good. The 1.85:1 anamorphic image was clean and clear, the colors muted slightly to maintain an aged patina. There is a bigger budget look to this lo-fi production that the disc maintains quite well. Similarly, the soundtrack is littered with easy to understand dialogue and lots of throwback modernized Morricone beats. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix brings it all back to well-modulated life. Of course, no bonus features were offered since this is, again, nothing more than an illustration of intent and not full blown entertainment. A mini-movie like Damn Your Eyes really does make you yearn for the entire thing. Without it, we are only getting part of the potential—a good part, but a part nonetheless.

The Verdict

Not guilty…and not the whole thing either. An intriguing teaser.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Target Films
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 20 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Drama
• Independent
• Short Films
• Western

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb
• Video: View the Film

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