Gypsy Eyes (1993) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This film is also known as Pick Pocket and CIA Trackdown.

We split on this one, although we agree on the C- rating. C- means a film is barely watchable if it includes your kind of material, but a must-avoid otherwise. Tuna was among those who found elements to his taste. Scoop was in the must-avoid group, finding it laughably bad, liking nothing about it except Claire Forlani's beauty (which is no small thing!).

Tuna's comments in white:

Gypsy Eyes (1992) starts as an espionage/crime thriller. Then, somewhere after the mid-point, it morphs into a romance. This must have been a mid production decision, as some characters and plot points they carefully set up just vanish. Claire Forlani is a gypsy, who is taking an American diplomat to a hotel by playing the prostitute. Her goal is to slip him a Mickey and rob him. An assassin shots him while she is changing in the bathroom. Enter Jim Metzler, who is a CIA agent assigned to the Bucharest embassy as head of security. His boss tells him to stay out of the case because he is due to return home in two weeks, but the dead man was Metzler's friend, and he is a hard-ass by nature, so he pursues the case.

With the help of the local chief of police, he figures out that a gypsy woman saw the murder, and catches her. Then we are let in on most of the plot. Seems most of the embassy has been selling illegal arms. The dead man started freelancing, cutting into the profits, so they killed him. Now they need to get rid of Forlani and Metzler. They kill the police chief, and throw a hand grenade into the car with Forlani and Metzler, but the two escape. Metzler is seriously injured, loses consciousness, and wakes up several days later in a gypsy camp. The gypsies turn out to be far better people than his colleagues at the embassy. At this point, we are expecting a big final showdown at the docks. It never happens. Instead, Metzler and Forlani fall in love, and the bad guys attack the gypsy camp.

The plot is weak, especially when it radically switches emphasis, and neither the crime/thriller nor the romance aspect is a strong story. However, Forlani was a pure joy to watch, both physically, and because of her portrayal. I also enjoyed the gypsy culture very much.


  • Claire Forlani shows breasts and buns, and her character flashes her pubic area. The way it was shot and edited, the crotch could be a double.
  •  Ashley Graham, as an embassy secretary, shows breasts in a sex scene.
  •  An unknown shows breasts and buns in a totally gratuitous sex scene.

Scoop's notes in yellow:

Claire Forlani is one of the most beautiful women in the world. She is a reasonably competent actress now as well, but it was her beauty alone which originally qualified her as an actress, and it was this beauty which enabled her career to survive some stinking performances in stinking films.

Like this.

Forlani is supposed to be playing a gypsy in Romania (the movie was actually filmed in Croatia and processed in Slovenia), but she quite literally has a different accent in every scene - including a few scenes which she speaks with an American accent (she's from the U.K., but she can portray Americans convincingly). The accent was only the beginning of her troubles. She was about high school age when she made this movie, and she really didn't have any idea how to deliver the scenes. Except for dancing roles, her only acting before this film had been three brief appearances in UK television shows.

The performance in Gypsy Eyes may not have been entirely her fault. Who knows what the youngster might have done with some competent guidance. Nobody really seems to have been aware of where this film was going. There is no writing credit, and I don't think that is a coincidence. It appears that scene after scene was improvised, with no particular relevance or connection to the surrounding scenes. Ideas mentioned in some early scenes are never mentioned again. A rendezvous is promised, then forgotten. Characters enter and leave for no apparent reason. All the Rumanian gypsies speak perfect English, albeit with a variety of accents. (Where would they learn English in rural Romania, away from any formal schooling?)

It really seems that nobody was in charge, and I guess that is pretty much true. The director, a Slovenian guy named Vinci Vogue-Anzlovar, would never direct again, which is not surprising after the investors saw the mess he made of this film.

In the first scene, Forlani is a Gypsy hooker about to slip a Mickey Finn to an American and steal his valuables. Beneath the window of their hotel room is a mysterious armed stalker. We think perhaps the hooker and the stalker are in cahoots, but when she goes to the bathroom, the stalker enters a window, shoots the American, and the hooker stays hidden, terrified, until the stalker/killer leaves.

Now think about that for a second.

  • The American guy is in a hotel room in the same city in which he lives, and the stalker knows exactly which room he is in.
  • Given those two facts, the stalker must also know the American's purpose for being there. That purpose requires a second human being, of course. There were also two champagne glasses in the room, and the American had not yet removed all of his clothes, indicating that the sex had not yet taken place.
  • So when Mr Stalker shot the American, did he check to see if there might be someone in the bathroom, like, oh, I don't know - a hooker? Nah.

That's how illogical the film was in the first three minutes. And that was actually the logical highlight of the film, since (1) unlike some of the characters elsewhere in the film, the characters in that scene were actually important to the development of the alleged plot, and (2) since it was only the first scene, it did not yet present any continuity problems with previous scenes!

The filmmakers had about the same authoritative command of a title as they did of the shooting script. The original title was Pick Pocket; it was released briefly in theaters as Gypsy Eyes; then released on video as C.I.A. Trackdown; and is now back to Gypsy Eyes on DVD.

The score at IMDb is 4.9, but that has been poisoned by the fact that nine of the 40 voters scored it a ridiculous 10/10 - that was undoubtedly Vinci himself, since he clearly has nothing else to occupy his time these days. Without those perfect tens, the average score is about where it should be at 3.9, with 12 of the 31 votes being a fairly well-deserved minimum score (if you are female or a gay male, the minimum score is a no-brainer, because the film's only appeal is not meaningful to you.)

DVD info from Amazon

  • no features

  • no widescreen

Having made those points, however, let me point out that there are some good things to see and hear if you watch this film, but do not do so without having your thumb very near to the fast-forward button.

1. It doesn't matter how bad Claire's acting is. The girl is absolutely stunning, and you can't take your eyes off her. It doesn't hurt that she removes her clothing quite a bit.

2. There is a very nice acoustic guitar score.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 4.9/10, which is too high.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. Tuna says, "There are rewards for watching it if gypsies and naked women appeal to you". Scoop says, "Claire Forlani is among the most beautiful women I have ever seen, and she was 19 when this movie was lensed. That alone is a decent reason to watch. If you are female or a gay male, the film is an E or even an F, since Claire's charms are the film's whole raison d'etre. The shots in the gypsy encampment are colorful and exotic. Of course, so is the NBC Peacock, but you probably don't want to watch that for 87 minutes. And that's probably more entertaining than this film (except for Claire, of course)."

Return to the Movie House home page