Blink (1994)

BLINK is the latest in a long line of Flawed Hollywood Thrillers. The
plot is formula-- a psycho stalks an attractive woman who's protected by
a cop who's sleeping with the target-- but good humor, a good cast, and
a couple neat twists provide the real thrills in this "thriller."

Once again, distress duties fall upon Madeline Stowe, who was last seen
resisting UNLAWFUL ENTRY.  This time, Stowe plays sightless-since-seven
Emma Brody, a folk violinist who's awaiting a corneal transplant.

When the eyes are finally upon her, Emma has problems with her newfound
vision-- one of which is what her doctor calls a "perceptual delay."
That is, there's a delay between her eyes and her brain. What she sees
can, sometimes, take over a day to appear in her head.

Of course, poor Emma also suffers from flashbacks and blurry vision. So,
when she catches a glimpse of a passing serial killer, neither she nor
the police completely believe her eyes...

Despite the odd ocular angle, BLINK is a formula film at heart and has
the cliches to prove it.  There's the cautious-of-commitment cop (Aidan
Quinn), the cop's hard-nosed boss (Bruce A.Young), and the cop's rival,
the maybe-too-friendly doctor (Peter Friedman).

Throw in some psychological mumbo-jumbo and you have the perfect recipe
for disaster.

This stew would probably sour in the hands of lesser talent. But with a
Respectable Director (Michael Apted) behind the boards, BLINK rarely
sinks as low as the subject matter suggests. Sure, there are a couple of
Awful Moments-- including a hideous POV shift to that of the killer's--
but the bulk of BLINK is easy on the eyes (and brain).

Most of the interesting stuff happens in the first half, when the script
promises more than it could ever hope to deliver.

You get great flourishes like Quinn's character quoting Longfellow to
get gals. Or Emma's flashbacks of her mother, who blinded her in a fit of
rage. Or the crowning moment of questionable ethics, when Quinn's boss
tells him to, simply, "sleep with her and get it over with."

(Though he may have used a different verb choice in said sentence.)

BLINK is also an unusually funny film. A jovial bunch of detectives
provides gallows humor by the yard. And a couple hilarious herrings, of
the red variety, are netted at key points late in the film.

There are other reasons not to blink at BLINK. The cast is attractive,
the locales (in Chicago) are great, and Stowe makes a refreshingly
strong heroine. But when the plot passes the point of oversaturation,
somewhere in the last half-hour, BLINK drags like the best of them.

The director side-steps this problem, however, by simply slapping on the
suspense.  As any Bad Movie Fan knows, shameless manipulation works
wonders in the absence of a polished script.

See Stowe stalked. See Stowe scream. See her eating ice cream.

To the victor belongs the spoils and BLINK does reward the patient
viewer with a slightly surprise ending. And, in a moment of unbridled
audacity that's worth the price of matinee admission alone, Apted even
allows a visit from Norman Bates' mother.

All this and three love-scenes to boot!  (Rated "R"/106 min.)

BOTTOM LINE:  The formula remains the same in BLINK, a Flawed Thriller
about a woman who regains her sight, only to see a killer.  Good humor,
a good cast, and a couple neat twists are the real thrills in this
better-than-passable potboiler.

Grade: B

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

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