An Eye For An Eye

Yesterday afternoon I watched the move “An Eye For An Eye” on Netflix. It came out in 1996. The cast included a much younger Sally Field, Ed Harris, Joe Mantegna and Keifer Sutherland.

Keifer Sutherland’s character (Robert Doob) is a young criminal whose path in life is to hurt others. He tortures dogs and laughs when they cry.

Unfortunately he works as a grocery deliveryman and knows the homes he delivers to well.

In An Eye For An Eye, Sally Field is the mother of a girl who is killed

This kind of work affords him opportunities to go into people’s homes.

When Julie Is Murdered In “An Eye For An Eye” Movie:

He pushes his way into the McCann’s home where their 17 year old daughter is alone on the afternoon of their younger daughter’s birthday, getting things ready.

Among the party supplies and the cake daughter Julie has just put on the table, he rapes and then kills her.

Sally Field (Karen McCann) was on the phone with her daughter Julie, stuck in traffic, as they discussed the upcoming party.

She listened as her daughter answers the door, and then is a silent party in a horrible traffic jam as the man rapes and kills Julie, the phone having been dropped to the floor.

Karen McCann screams her daughter’s name, but is unable to do a thing but abandon her car in the midst of traffic and run willy-nilly across the lines of traffic trying to find someone else with a phone.

When she finally gets someone to lower their car window she tells them to call the authorities because she can’t bear to hang up her own. It is her only communication with her child.

But she doesn’t get there in time.

Robert Doob is picked up for the murder and the authorities have his DNA.

The Trial:

Karen and Mac McCann (Sally Field and Ed Harris) go to the first pre-trial hearing only to learn that the prosecution had not given the defense the sample of DNA to have checked out themselves by their own forensics people.

The girl who is killed in the movie "An Eye For An Eye"

The judge can’t do anything then but throw the case out and Robert Doob, (Keifer Sutherland), is set free. He smirks at Karen McCann as he walks out of the courtroom.

Of course every man (or woman) deserves a fair trial. And to ensure that fairness, due to some technicality they may never have to pay for their crime.

It is set up this way because they say it is better to let a guilty man go free than convict and possibly execute an innocent one.

To be more factually accurate, in criminal law Blackstone’s ratio, also known as the Blackstone formulation as expressed by William Blackstone in the 1760s, is the postulation that:

It is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer.

In an eye for an eye, this is Sally Field on the phone crying about the fate of her daughter in the movie

Karen McCann Is Outraged:

Karen McCann cannot accept that her daughter’s murderer is walking free.

She finds out where Richard Boob lives and begins to follow him. She sits in her car down the street watching one day as he delivers groceries to a young Spanish woman.

She then watches Boob as he walks around the corner and urinates on the property, like a dog marking territory.

Karen McCann tells the detective he must do something, that she knows Richard Boob is going to kill again. But he tells her that his hands are tied, that Boob was let go a free man not guilty of a crime and they can’t charge him again.

Kiefer Sutherland in the movie An Eye For An Eye

Karen Learns To Use A Gun:

Karen thinks she might just kill him herself. She gets a gun and takes lessons on how to use it. And she takes a class on how to protect herself. She does not tell her husband Mac because she knows he won’t approve.

Her little girl Megan, whose birthday party never took place that fateful day, feels as though she has lost her mother. Because Karen McCann is caught up in a web of anger and despair and can’t separate herself from it.

Robert Boob spots Karen following him. To give her the message to leave him alone, he goes to Megan’s school and finds her on the playground and talks to her.

When Karen picks her daughter up Robert Boob appears from behind a tree as they’re walking toward her car and taunts her about the only child she has left, saying how beautiful she is.

In an eye for an eye, Sally Field and Ed Harris are sitting in the courtroom in the movie

Her Plan:

Driven by grief and the failure to make Robert Boob pay for his crime, she puts together a plan. She gets her husband to agree to a vacation.

Then on the day they’re leaving, she makes sure there is a problem at her work and tells Mac and Megan to go on without her. She will catch up with them at the cabin that evening or the next morning.

But in actuality she goes to Robert Boob’s rat hole of an apartment and tears it apart. She leaves her cap behind. When he comes home he recognizes it from her following him.

And come nightfall he heads to her neighborhood once again and breaks into her home.

The shower is running and the shower curtain closed. Robert Boob thinks this will be an easy one. He will catch her unaware.

But she has outwitted him. She has hung towels in the shower to make it look like she’s in there. But in fact she is right behind him with her gun.

It’s Not Personal:

When he realizes what’s going on and that she might kill him, he tells her that it’s nothing personal, what happened the last time he visited her home.

The daughter he violated and murdered was just a random girl to him.

But to Sally Field it was very, very personal.

They struggle and she ends up with the gun and finally ends this sad saga of another criminal who got a walk out of jail free card and thought it gave him the right to repeat his crime.

Sometimes the words sociopath and psychopath are used interchangeably. But there are differences.

A psychopath doesn’t have a conscience. If he lies to you so he can steal your money, he won’t feel any moral qualms, though he may pretend to.

In An Eye For An Eye movie, Sally Field is learning to use a gun at the gun range


A sociopath typically has a conscience, but it’s weak. He or she may know that taking your money is wrong, and he might feel some guilt or remorse, but that won’t stop his behavior.

Both lack empathy, the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and understand how they feel.

Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are more likely than are psychopaths to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society.

Psychopathy can be thought of as a more severe form of sociopathy with more symptoms. Therefore, all psychopaths are sociopaths but sociopaths are not necessarily psychopaths.

Unfortunately a lot of people on the psychopathic continuum aren’t in jail or prison. In fact some individuals may be able to use psychopathic traits, like boldness, to achieve professional success. And thus they are apt to become CEO’s of big companies.

“Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.” ― William S. Burroughs

(All photos are the property of


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  1. Brenda, This was such an interesting blog. With your history of reporting some of the worst situations in the news I can see why this movie was interesting to you. You know how to read people from your own experience. I would watch this even if I sat on the edge of my seat and cried my eyes out. Thank you for posting. Sandra

  2. Happy New Year Brenda, Charlie and Ivy! Vera is on Prime video also if you have that, another great series is Midsomer Murders, watch from the beginning

  3. Saw this a long time ago,I liked it,the acting was very well done,even by the “bad guy”.
    I also felt it portrayed how parents,families and spouses deal with horrific crimes that happen daily in our lives whether we want to believe it or not.

  4. I see no harm in watching a movie like this. As horrific of a story this is, things like this happen in real life, and it does no good to be blind to it. I think it gives us something to think about. Life is not all balloons, and sparkly dancing bears. We live with the bad and the good. I for one, Brenda, am happy that you shared. Hugs to you from WI

  5. My group of friends would like to respectfully ask you this question. Why do you review so many violent books and movies? We mean no harm or criticism but we had hoped for a positive post for this new year and new decade. Some of us have had to deal with horrific tragedies in our lives. All eight of us agreed that we do not support violent movies or books that depict rape, abuse and murder. Please understand, we are not being disrespectful. We enjoy your decorating, gardening and pets but as to the detailed book, tv and movie reviews, we choose not to read them anymore. We are not only a lunch group but also a support group. We try to deal with our tragedies together and positively.

    1. How very wonderful to have a group like this “We are not only a lunch group but also a support group.” My motherinlaw belonged to a cancer support group and she gained a most wonderful friend through that group. Good for You Ladies!!! 🙂 b

    2. I made the “mistake,” many years ago when I was “sitting” with an elderly lady, of tuning into a movie, “Goodnight, Mother” with Sissy Spacek in it. I was fascinated by her character’s calmness, etc. before doing something later in the evening in this movie. What was equally interesting was this elderly lady (89 or 90 at the time – mind pretty sharp) was very interested in the movie, too, and we would talk about it as it went along (one of the best times I had with her!) Well, her daughter for the weekend came in and she was not happy and felt the movie was not a “Yes.” So, from then on we stuck with the “nice” movies, etc. so as not to upset daughter. The elderly lady and I were really getting to talk and to hear her mind at that age say things impressed me that her sharpness of thinking was indeed still there.

      I know, I am new here and a lot of You guys have known each other, nigh on, 10 years or so, but for some reason, Nmp, Your comment bothered me (and trust me, I am not looking for a fight.) This is Brenda’s blog. If she chooses to post something, I guess, we, individually, can read it or not. “We mean no harm or criticism…” and “Please understand, we are not being disrespectful,” maybe not, but You are telling her what to post and not post on her blog. If You don’t like something on a blog, don’t read it. Brenda does not appear to be someone who would intentionally post something to upset someone, she has merely done as in other things, told about something that “caught her attention” or “was of interest to her.” There are lots of blogs out there to find anything we want to see, read, etc., isn’t that wonderful!! 🙂 b Note to Brenda: If this is against Your “Commenter’s Rules,” by all means, delete it. b

  6. Could never watch a movie like this. In fact, the older I get, the more sensitive I become (in every which way). I can’t watch anything violent or scary.

  7. I saw this intense movie, as my husband was watching on Tv..I am like others have stated..probably would not have chosen to watch it. A good movie.. whew. So many crazies and sick folks walking around in this world. Sad.

  8. Having been a victim of a very clever sociopath 3 years ago, I can tell you, I am most hesitant now in making new friends…because I did not see that freight train coming!! They are the most clever of humans…sad however as they are seemingly soul-less, very proud of having totally fooled others. Truly I see no redeeming qualities for these kinds. And also at the same time 3 years ago my daughter had to leave her sociopath husband who has rights to visitation with the poor kids, unfortunately. We are not sure he is not also a psychopath. He is very smart and has outwitted most all other people who were in their lives. I cared very much for him and also did not see all coming that came. He is also a pedophile, which came out shortly after she left him. There are days I struggle with fear. I won’t watch this movie (violence I cannot watch) but thank you for sharing, Brenda…knowing the ones in our lives, I have to agree, the law is incapable of helping, truly.

  9. Yes, saw this movie a long time ago and Sleeping with the Enemy is my favorite also…

  10. That’s a little too horrific for me. But I do love a movie when the bad guy gets what’s coming especially from a woman. My favorites are: Sleeping with the Enemy and Red Eye and others I cant name right now. Happy New Year

  11. I like the ones that make you think and reason what’s going to happen next and how it will play out. That’s why I like police procedural’s. Watch Bailey and Scott for women detectives who always get their man or woman.

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