Joss Whedon was a busy man with The Avengers. But in between the writing and the shooting and the wrangling of a real, live Hulk (I’m assuming that was the real Hulk, right?), he also shot Much Ado About Nothing on his days off.
Apparently Much Ado wasn’t enough, because Whedon actually had a third project in the works at the same time. In the early months of 2012, Whedon’s screenplay for In Your Eyes was being shot in New Hampshire. Not by Whedon, mind you, but by Brin Hill – and before you say, “Who?” Hill is known mostly for writing the competitive b-boy flick Battle of the Year. Somehow, Whedon found a way to oversee the production anyway, even if it was just through a tenuous psychic connection.
Which, conveniently enough, is the very same plot device at the center of In Your Eyes. Starring Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks) and Michael Stahl-David (the lead in Cloverfield), it’s a love story touched by a vague kind of movie mysticism. Kazan and Stahl-David fall in love despite the fact that they’ve never met and live on opposite sides of the country. Somehow, a metaphysical, psychic-ish connection is to blame.
The film’s twist on a typical meet-cute seems very Whedon-ish, wherein young versions of our two leads meet via the collision of skull and tree trunk. As do the precocious youngsters on the side, who speak like Hollywood writers and are somehow endlessly quippy. All that fits well within Whedon’s pop-nerd wheelhouse.
The visual aspect, not so much. It’s clear from the outset that In Your Eyes was shot by a guy known mostly for breakdance battling, because it looks not unlike a Hallmark Channel original movie. The colors are super blown-out — the New Mexico scenes scream ORANGE, and the New Hampshire scenes shout BLUE in response, and my eyes ask for a brief respite where humans are the color humans are supposed to be.
Yes, the film was shot on digital and digital isn’t quite up to old-fashioned film stock snuff, but then the In Your Eyes team used the same camera (an Arri Alexa) as Her and Under the Skin. So no excuses there.
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