- Eye on Juliet
- Written and directed by Kim Nguyen
- Starring Joe Cole and Lina El Arabi
- Rating 14A
- 90 minutes
“Reach out and touch someone,” the long-distance telephone ads used to say.
But Gordon, a morose Detroiter trying to get over a bad breakup, knows technology has its limits. He spends his nights in a windowless office, monitoring video feeds beamed in from a collection of spider drones, crawling robotic devices that he operates as if in a real-life video game, that are guarding an oil pipeline outside a North African village.
During one shiftless shift, Gordon (Peaky Blinders’s baby-faced Joe Cole) eavesdrops on a lovers’ assignation amid the desert hills. Using the robot’s surveillance equipment and translation software, he realizes the couple are a modern-day Romeo and Juliet: Ayusha (Lina El Arabi, a veteran of another forced-marriage drama, A Wedding) has been promised by her parents to an older man. A true romantic in the swipe-right era of dating – albeit one with a creepy, voyeuristic bent – Gordon resolves to help them.
After the magical realism of his Arctic-set Two Lovers and a Bear and the Oscar-nominated child soldier drama Rebelle, Montreal-based writer-director Nguyen opts for a mildly ironic tack – all this communication technology, and we’re more disconnected than ever – but his earnestness gets the better of him. Like Gordon, he’s a romantic at heart. Though not as creepy, thank goodness.