This quote is from Ridley Scott: A Critical Filmography:

While it can be argued that The Duellists is a complete film—and it certainly is—the dozen-year interval between it and Alien must be regarded as a period of consolidation in which the director cast a cold eye on the entire filmmaking process.

What does cast a cold eye on mean in the context?


It means that the director Ridley Scott showed little or no interest in filmmaking during the specified time interval.

From M-W:

cold-eyed (adjective)
cold in manner or appearance
especially : coolly dispassionate

And from TFD:

cold-eyed (adj.) Cold-bloodedly dispassionate : a cold-eyed appraisal of the situation.

So, to look at something with a cold eye means to regard it rather distantly – it's not capturing your attention, and you're not giving it much thought.

Also, the phrase cast a cold eye at may be a pun in this case. In phrases like cast your eyes or cast a glance, the verb cast means "to look at or direct one's attention toward". But the word cast is also related to filmmaking, so the author may have been trying to be clever here.


No it does mean that. to cast a cold eye means to attempt to view objectively something you have created or are responsible for. It does mean you are not giving it your full attention- it means the opposite of that. You do give something your full attention but you are examining it critically as if it were the work of someone else. In the quoted text time is the element which facilitates the ability to cast a cold eye as it creates distance.

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