Dawn Breaks Behind the Eyes (2021) – Film Review

dawn breaks behind the eyes film review (1)

Director: Kevin Kopacka
Cast: Anna Platen, Jeff Wilbusch, Frederik Von Lüttichau
Certificate: 18

By Roger Crow

I love European cult cinema of the 60s and 70s – and so do a lot of filmmakers. Seven years ago, Peter Strickland’s masterpiece The Duke of Burgundy tapped into that cult world of weird and wonderful imagery and music, and now Dawn Breaks Behind the Eyes arrives, and for at least the first 30 minutes, gets things absolutely right. It’s beautifully shot, wonderfully weird, and essentially a two-hander between an estranged couple (Margot and Dieter) who inherit a decrepit castle.

But you know that overused cliché of things taking a sharp left-hand turn with the aid of a stereo needle scratch? Well that arrives in the form of an overly gratuitous shot of graphic violence, and from that point on things don’t recover.

dawn breaks behind the eyes film review (2)


With scenes reminiscent of Nicolas Cage’s unnerving Mandy, the last chunk of the movie becomes just another meta drama about…, well, I’ll not reveal the twist here, but let’s just say a movie within a movie isn’t as interesting as that arthouse puzzle in the first act.

Kevin Kopacka’s feature film directorial debut boasts an interesting cast, including Anna Platen, Jeff Wilbusch, Frederik Von Lüttichau, Luisa Taraz and Robert Nickish.

Like recent release Everybody Dies by the End, this needed to be more about the film and less about the film-making.

However, at a mere 73 minutes, at least it doesn’t outstay its welcome.

Dawn Breaks Behind the Eyes will be available to stream in February 2023

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