User ReviewsReview this title
Directed by Michael Apted (Coal's Miner Daughter, Gorialls in the Mist, Enigma) made an intriguing suspense thriller that is well made, funny, entertaining & thanks to the sharp performances by Stowe and Quinn makes this one more than an enjoyable film. Perphas it's a bit heavy handed for some tastes, because of Stowe's character has "retroactive vision" problem. In real life "retroactive vision" isn't fictional as some believed. There's something unique to this movie than the usual woman in jeopardy pictures.
DVD has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer (Also in Pan & Scan) and an good-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. DVD's only feature is the original theatrical trailer. This film didn't find much success at the box office, despite being well received by the critics. This certainly play well on Video. This picture has excellent cinematography by Dante Spinotti (The Haunting "1999", Manhunter, Red Dragon) and this was certainly one of the few (and best) underrated thrillers that came out in the early 1990's. Super 35. (****/*****).
Emma Brody (Madeleine Stowe) is a blind violin player in an Irish folk band whose ophthalmologist offers her the opportunity of an operation which could enable her to see again. After having a corneal transplant, her vision is restored but it's often blurred or distorted and she suffers from a side-effect called "perceptual delay" which means that the images she sees don't register until many hours later. When she wakes one morning in the early hours and hears a disturbance coming from her upstairs neighbour's apartment, she opens her door and sees a man going down the stairs. Her vision is blurred at this time but later in the day, she "sees" his face much more clearly.
The murder of Emma's neighbour is investigated by police detective John Hallstrom (Aiden Quinn) who doesn't regard Emma as a credible witness. He's an abrasive character who openly ridicules her but later comes to realise that she's his only witness and also he's strongly attracted to her. The affair that they then embark on provides a temporary diversion but when Hallstrom regains his focus, his investigation unexpectedly leads him to a suspect whose motive for carrying out a series of killings is extremely unusual.
This movie features a number of sequences that are beautifully photographed. One in a train station, another in the early morning mist and a third in Emma's room (when her reflection is seen in the window) are just a few examples. These moments add greatly to the visual appeal of "Blink" and also contribute enormously to the marvellous atmosphere of the piece.
"Blink" is well directed by Michael Apted who takes time to show some of the issues that are preoccupying Emma as she adjusts to regaining her vision. Her memory of how she lost her sight when her abusive mother smashed her face against a mirror is deeply disturbing and seeing her own face in the mirror for the first time since she was 8 years old is understandably shocking. She also realises that she's unable to recognise what people regard as conventional beauty and so reflects on whether or not she's actually beautiful. The psychological turmoil that these issues cause isn't made any easier to cope with by the fact that her life is in danger and also her affair with Hallstrom is a particularly turbulent one.
Madeleine Stowe does extremely well in what must have been one of her most demanding roles and the supporting cast is also very good.
Now a young lady is murdered in her apartment in Emma's building. Did Emma see the murderer leave the scene of the crime? Although she cannot discern very well, she does remember the distinct "soapy" smell of the murderer. Apparently he detests blood, and thus thoroughly scrubs it away. Later she detects the same smell in her eye surgeon's office. Is he the killer? There are other murders, and some elements of danger. An anxious situation occurs when the vulnerable Emma notices two eyes drawn in lipstick on her inside clothes closet mirror. Another is her entry aboard a nearly empty Chicago El commuter train at night.
Emma's best friend is her loyal and spirited golden retriever, Ralph, who is fun to watch. Soon Emma develops a rather rocky love relationship with investigating detective John Halstrom, whose apathetic actions make him none too likable. Yet the two leads are inevitably drawn together. The police, lacking empathy and misunderstanding the cynical woman, act pretty much the same. They do their jobs, and that's it. Although Emma is strong, her handicap presents a disadvantage, and the killer is closing in. Nonetheless, he does not reckon on the mettle that was bubbling underneath the tough woman all along.
Madeline Stowe was actually well into her thirties when she played the role of a young woman in her late-twenties. She gets away with the part, though, because of her good looks, energy, and nice performance. She certainly creates sympathy and makes us root for her to turn out well. Recommended.
Throughout the viewer has to question whether there actually is a killer. You might suspect the doctor for good reason. Maybe one of the cops as well. The writers certainly keeps you in long enough to discover who the killer is and if the formerly blind woman actually saw him or her.
Overall, its a fairly good movie. Not too thrilling, but enough to watch again someday. "B-"
It's all set up to be a standard woman in peril thriller, the kind that drops into the cinema on a yearly basis. But thanks to some technical smarts and a terrific performance by Stowe, Blink is one of the better films from this particular sub-genre. It's a bit saggy in the middle, where, probably thanks to the success of Basic Instint and Sea of Love in the five years previously, Apted and co try to turn it into an "erotic" thriller as Stowe and Quinn's surly copper form a relationship, but it's genuinely tense and the novelty of Emma's unusual affliction never wears thin.
Apted and his team have devised a unique visual effect that lets us see the world through Emma's unusual eyes, and the result is very unsettling. Blurry focus blends with wobbly vision and this allows for scary moments that stretch the concept across the films running time. It's of course a hokey premise, and the formula at the core of the plot is nothing new, but the character of Emma, coupled with her "affliction" is. Emma is no poor victim looking for sympathy, she's spunky, sexy and not suffering fools gladly. She lives as an independent, plays fiddle in a Celtic rock band (The Drovers playing themselves) and is full of feminine whiles. Stowe really gets to grips with the character and convinces fully. Quinn is OK, plays sarcastic and moody with ease, while Apted has a keen eye for the Chicago locale and Spinotti's photography is gorgeous in colour tones.
It needed a better, more frantic, ending, and that over played mid-section stops it from being from the top draw of thrillers, but otherwise it's well worth a look for potential first time viewers. 7/10
Going to the police to report Valeries murder Emmer is treated as if she's some kind of nut-case because of her claiming that her new restored eyesight has her see thing not only out of focus but out of their usual time frame! As if they come to her attention hours if not days after they happen. That's why she can't pinpoint the exact time that Valerie was murdered! With Valerie's body later being found exactly where Emma predicted it would be the police finally start to take her seriously but only for the wrong reasons. With Det. Hallstrom, Aidan Quinn, put on the case he seems to be more interested in getting it on with the pretty and head strong violinist then finding Valerie's killer. The killer who we soon find out mistook Valerie for Emma the person he really was out to do in!
All the pieces of this mysterious puzzle come together towards the end of the movie with the revelations by Emma's eye surgeon Dr. Ryan Pierce, Peter Friedman, of who's corneas were implanted into Emma's sightless eyes. Eyes who's sight Emma lost when as an eight-year-old girl when she had her skull smashed into a mirror by her outraged mom for daring to use her lipstick! As it turns out it's Det. Hallstrom's partner Det. Ridgely, James Remar, who by doing his job and not always trying to get into Emma's pants finally managed-with Hallstrom's help-cracked the case. That's before Emma almost ended up being the killer's next victim!
Following the film's confusing and complicated storyline was like navigating you way through a US Marine or Navey Seal obstacle course. It was actress Madeleine Stowe gutsy and tightrope-like performance that made you want to sit through the movie at all. Not in if she'll survive being killed but why she's being targeted to be murdered in the first place!
Madeleine Stowe features as Emma Brody, a gifted violinist living in Chicago, who was blinded as a young girl by her abusive mother. The story proper opens with her receiving corneal transplants after 20 or so years of blindness. This restores her sight, but her mind is so overwhelmed by the resulting flood of images that it operates a kind of delay in its processing so that she only perceives certain things some time after actually seeing them. One of the images so processed is that of a possible murderer
I have no idea whether this phenomenon is actually possible medically, but I didn't care much. The story is otherwise rather conventional, though its treatment is vivid. British-born Michael Apted knows his stuff and conveys a startling impression of Emma's situation and the Chicago she lives in.
Stowe turns in a convincing, if sometimes rather shrill, performance, while Aidan Quinn is also good as the detective more or less in charge of the case, with whom Emma has a romance of sorts. The supporting players, including the excellent James Remar, are effective. I must admit though that the expression "red shirt" crossed my mind when a not very bright uniformed officer (named Crowe and played by Matt Roth) was assigned to keep an eye on Emma. My suspicions were more than justified.
A satisfying thriller nevertheless adequate plot, excellent playing, good music, and lively direction. Who could want more?
As thrillers go this is above average. True, the premise is a "been there, done that" sort of thing with a romance between the detective and the potential victim with a serial killer in the shadows, etc. However there is just enough originality here added to solid performances by the stars to make it worthwhile.
Aidan Quinn (no relation to Anthony) plays a cute and quirky detective in the Windy City on the trail of a budding serial killer. Madeleine Stowe is a blue grass/Irish violinist blind since she was eight. As the movie opens she is about to get cornea transplants, and before long she can see, sort of, which is important since she has become a witness to murder. Some of what she sees are flashbacks to the day before, which makes her a problem witness for the police. Some other flashbacks are to when her mother smashed her face into a mirror for playing with her make-up. How sick is that? I presume this was dreamed up by Dana Stevens, who gets credit for the script, which is a kind of mishmash of clever lines and shlock dialogue as though two different people (or half a dozen) wrote it.
Michael Apted's direction is not inspired although it isn't all that bad either. But he doesn't develop the serial killer's personality, and so the weirdo's motivation seems a bit of a stretch. Also undeveloped is the doctor whose love for Stowe is unrequited. The main thing is the erotic chemistry between Stowe and Quinn, and the personality of Stowe's character, which is original and the best thing in the movie. I think this would have received a better reception had Quinn's character fallen in madly in love with the violinist. As it plays, we are not sure whether he really cares or not.
Madeleine Stowe is sexy and does a good job in a demanding role, probably the most demanding of her modest career. See it for her.
The best thing about this movie is Madeleine Stowe playing the blind woman, Emma Brody, who is given a transplant operation to help her see again. While her sight is returning she witnesses a murder committed by a brutal serial killer and becomes his next target. Stowe plays her character really well, making the blind scenes look genuine and making you care about her future. Aidan Quinn was OK in his role as Detective John Hallstrom, the police detective investigating the serial killer case who (surprise, surprise) falls for Emma Brody. Madeleine Stowe is sexy and does a good job in a demanding role, probably the most demanding of her modest career. This is a top notch thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end, and the soundtrack is not too bad.
Overall rating: 8 out of 10.
A new type of eye operation partially restores her sight, but she is having problems: sometimes she doesn't "remember" what she's seen until later.
One night she is awakened by a commotion upstairs. Peering out of her door, she sees a shadowy figure descending the stairs.
Convinced that her neighbour has been murdered, she approaches the police, only to find that she is unsure if it was just her new eyes playing tricks on her....
It's not a surprise that this didn't make much of an impact when released. These sort of thrillers were released every other month in the nineties, bu the inclusion of eye surgery is surely a novelty.
It is, but thats where all the novel ideas end.
We have Aiden Quinn, the lead detective, and guess who he ends up with?
Stowe has a guide dog, guess what happens to it?
And so on and so on.
There is a little bit of a twist come the end, but it doesn't really matter, all the blanks are filled in and it doesn't really bother the grey matter.
Stowe is good in her role, and it has to be her best performance, its a shame she never really picked up better scripts, could she really has screen presence.
See it if you like thrillers, you don't expect to be surprised too much...
Aidan Quinn has always struck me as a nice guy and a competent actor. Handsome in a James Deanish way but without the extravagant thespianism, and not afraid to have himself thoroughly deglamorized when the part calls for it. And that's him in "Blink." He even musters a first-class Chicago accent (not surprising) for a film shot in Chicago. Madeleine Stowe is equally appealing, in part for quite different reasons. She has a low voice that is simultaneously throaty and nasal (all her sinuses seem to be pumping away like a dolphin's) and she has a tendency to break into endearing childish giggles when she is about to undergo a corneal transplant, overjoyed at the prospect of being able to see again. And on top of all that she is a beautiful woman with a slender and very feminine body, the kind of figure you might see in a 19th-century illustration of Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale about the little mermaid, only better because Stowe has legs as well as a tail. I also give her bonus points because this is her most vulgar, spunkiest performance on screen.
The film doesn't have a lot of action in it. There is not a car chase in sight, nothing explodes, and all the murders but one take place off camera. About five shots are fired all together. But Apted, the director, has organized everything so that it rambles along without a boring moment, except perhaps for the predictable shoot-out at the end. We have a half-blind woman in jeopardy locked up in a big garage with some moron who wants to tear her eyeballs out. "Give me back those eyes that belong to her," he says, or something like that. The situation is straight out of Helpful Hints for Screenwriters -- Part Three, Section Two, Subsection A, sub b, backslash 4. "Put a blind woman in a dark room with a murderer." In fact, the script is the weakest part of the movie. The heavy is another serial killer following a pattern which it takes the cops two hours to figure out. (He's collecting the organs that were harvested from his dead girl friend.) Some of it makes no sense. What's the business with the Byzantine cross? Why does he slash his victim's wrists postmortem so that the blood will drain away and the organ transplants no longer of use? (That is, since nobody bleeds after death anyway.) And -- okay -- I can buy "delayed perception," although I've never heard of it, but after her transplant Stowe begins hallucinating her mother, the killer, her boyfriend, her neighbors, even in their absence. We're only one step away here from the old Helpful Hints for Screenwriters story of the transplanted organs that carry the impulses and sensations of their donors. (Cf., The Hands of Orlac or whatever.) Enough to make me worry about my hair transplants. There is also something about Stowe's wanting to be in control all the time, a desire of which nothing is made in the script, and is only there to provide something for her and Quinn to fight about.
But Apted pretty much compensates for these weaknesses through sheer efficiency. He even handles the atmosphere people with notable effectiveness. (When Stowe bursts out of the police station's men's room after a brutal argument with Quinn, we see a knot of cops in the background who have been eavesdropping and they casually break up and stroll away.)
There are also themes that explore the sensory apparatus of the human body. Actually, it's quite a sensuous film. The chief theme of course is Stowe's vision, and she's the actress for the part because her eyes are slightly crossed. We get some idea of her vision from time to time through a distorting lens and some morphing, but it's a technique that's only used when it's called for. There are no visual fireworks other than that. None of the shots calls attention to itself, as in, "Look, Ma, I'm a Director!" It's a tactile movie too. There are two or three love scenes between Quinn and Stowe and they're pretty rambunctious. Lamps get knocked over and all that, and she feels faces and hands, while Quinn feels her. Pretty sexy actually, but not at all titillating. Stowe has said she always made love with her eyes closed while she was blind, and fantasized a good deal, and in one such session Quinn asks her to open her eyes and look at him. It's a rather tender moment. The chemical senses are represented only by smell, taste being neglected. There are lots of flowers in this movie. When Quinn visits the home of victim number three, the husband had just brought his wife a large bouquet, and Quinn is holding another bunch of flowers. In one scene, Stowe tiptoes nude up to a vase full of roses that Quinn has given her and she sniffs one rapturously. And then there is the surgical soap. As for the kinetic senses, there are several sports scenes -- basketball (two) and baseball (1), in addition to the rather strenuous lovemaking. The auditory sense is centered around music. Stowe plays the violin. Quinn brings her CDs of The Drovers, the Irish band she plays with, of Vivaldi, and of Pearl Jam. "Eclectic," remarks Stowe. "I was drunk," replies Quinn.
This is worth watching if it happens along on cable. It's even worth renting.
The film would be described a 'psychological thriller', and the reason why these films are often hit and miss is the main problem with this one. A film like this really needs a central character that is easy to get into; and while I believe that Madeleine Stowe is a great actress, she's not given the room to do much with this role. The plotting is not good at all, and is often all over the place; and too much of the film focuses on the tentative (and boring) relationship between the central character and a policeman on the case. This relationship feels extremely phoney, and since it makes up a large proportion of the running time of the film; it becomes a pretty big problem. There are a few decent scenes; Stowe is very good despite the poor material, though I would have preferred a lot more suspense, given that this is really supposed to be a thriller. The ending is pulled off fairly nicely, though its impact is lessened by the tepid film that preceded it. For a far better take on a similar theme, see the fantastic 'Wait Until Dark', and skip this.