To me, portrait is all about the personal connection the subject makes with the viewer. When I saw this photograph for the first time, my first impression was about the face and eyes or lack there of. Then I saw the description of the photograph - it was supposed to be an intense photograph.
For this, I said, "I'm sorry, it doesn't work for me".
To me, lighting eyes and that area properly is very important. Perhaps more important than the rest of the photograph. Then, the overall face. This is a portrait, isn't it?
Portraits are my main area of interest. That's how I do mine.