This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
"Eye for an Eye" is a particularly nasty little example of audience manipulation leading to a conclusion that, had I accepted it, would have left me feeling unclean. It's about an ordinary woman who is led to seek blood revenge, in a plot where the deck is stacked so blatantly it's shameless. It's ironic that this movie is being released at the same time as "Dead Man Walking." Both are about killers and their victims, and both are, in a way, about the death penalty. "Dead Man Walking" challenges us to deal with a wide range of ethical and moral issues. "Eye for an Eye" cynically blinkers us, excluding morality as much as it can, to service an exploitation plot.
The movie stars Sally Field as Karen, a mother whose teenage daughter is raped and killed, in a particularly horrifying scene, early in the movie. The daughter calls for help, and Karen actually hears the attack over the telephone - and then tries to race home, gets stuck in traffic and is trapped in a nightmare scene where other drivers refuse her request to use a mobile phone.
She arrives home to a crime scene. Karen is shattered, and turns for comfort to her husband (Ed Harris) and their young daughter. Meanwhile, a smart cop (Joe Mantegna) quickly catches a suspect named Doob (Kiefer Sutherland). All the evidence points to him, even the DNA and semen samples. But Doob gets off on a stupid technicality, and then Karen grows obsessed. She joins a support group for survivors (their motto: "You show me your heartbreak and I'll show you mine"). And through them she is introduced to a shadowy network of those who have chosen to take the law into their own hands.
She trails Doob. He is a mean, nasty, brutish man who smokes all the time, has tattoos, needs a shave and kicks dogs. When he becomes aware she is following him, he visits a playground at her young daughter's school and terrorizes the little girl. Karen goes ballistic, turns to her group's secret advisers for help, buys a weapon, and takes shooting and martial arts lessons. Meanwhile we watch, through the film's omnipotent point of view, as Doob assaults and murders another victim.