When we first meet Gordon (Joe Cole) he’s distraught, breaking up with his girlfriend after accusing her of cheating on him. A hopeless romantic, after the split he sleepwalks through his job as a drone security officer. Based in Michigan he operates a bot with camera to make sure nobody “steals the chocolate sauce.” In other words, he’s an office drone who does remote drone security to protect an oil pipeline in North Africa. Late one night one his hexapod cameras picks up a young woman, Ayusha (Lina El Arabi), wandering in the desert.
He soon discovers Ayusha’s parents don’t approve of the man she sneaks around to visit by the pipeline. At first he spies on the couple from afar but as he becomes more and more involved he steps in, offering to help them raise the money they need to escape to Paris and get married. “I see you have true love and I just want to help you,” he says via translation software on his robot.
“Eye on Juliet” is a movie about connections, about true love, about star-crossed lovers in an age of technology. It strives to find profundity in all these themes but falls short on all accounts. Heartfelt performances from Cole and El Arabi provide the movie’s backbone but both feel underwritten and in Gordon’s case, with unclear motivations. It’s made clear he believes in love but by the time he is risking his job, breaking the law and draining his bank account to help someone who remains a shadowy figure on a computer screen credulity is stretched past the breaking point.
“Eye on Juliet” tries to put a new spin on an old story but the introduction of physical technology—i.e. a robot camera that resembles “Short Circuit’s” Johnny 5 bot crossed with some sort of metallic spider—adds an unintended levity to scenes that should pack an emotional punch.